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Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas Paperback – August 6, 2008
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About the Author
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences worldwide. She and her husband, David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10,000 churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of Help Me Teach the Bible, a podcast of the Gospel Coalition.
Skip Ryan is Senior Minister of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas and has served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. Skip is also an instructor for the Japanese Institute for Church Growth in Tokyo. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Westminster Theological Seminary.
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; This Momentary Marriage; A Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.
Randy Alcorn (MA, Multnomah University) is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author of over fifty books. His books have sold over nine million copies and been translated into nearly seventy languages. Alcorn resides in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and five grandsons.
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master’s University and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.
Recognized internationally for his work in Christianity and culture, Francis A. Schaeffer authored more than twenty books, which have been translated into a score of languages and sold millions worldwide. He and his wife, Edith, founded L'Abri Fellowship international study and discipleship centers. Schaeffer passed away in 1984, but his influence and legacy continue worldwide.
R. C. Sproul (1939–2017) was founder of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian discipleship organization located near Orlando, Florida. He was also founding pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, first president of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. His radio program, Renewing Your Mind, is still broadcast daily on hundreds of radio stations around the world and can also be heard online. Sproul contributed dozens of articles to national evangelical publications, spoke at conferences, churches, colleges, and seminaries around the world, and wrote more than one hundred books, including The Holiness of God, Chosen by God, and Everyone’s a Theologian. He also served as general editor of the Reformation Study Bible.
Joni Eareckson Tada is founder and CEO of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, which ministers to thousands of disabled people and their families through programs of practical encouragement and spiritual help. She is also an artist and the author of numerous best-selling books such as Joni; Heaven: Your Real Home; and When God Weeps.
Martin Luther (1483–1546) was professor of Bible at Wittenberg University, and many of his expositions came out of his classroom. Considered one of the most powerful discussions of justification by faith written by any of the Reformers, this commentary on Galatians has had a profound impact on many through the centuries.
Timothy J. Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He is the best-selling author of The Prodigal God and The Reason for God.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), minister of Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, was one of the foremost preachers of his day. His many books have brought profound spiritual encouragement to millions around the world.
JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1758) was a pastor, theologian, and missionary. He is generally considered the greatest American theologian. A prolific writer, Edwards is known for his many sermons, including "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and his classic Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Edwards was appointed president of the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) shortly before his death.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) was an English Baptist pastor at New Park Street Chapel, London (which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle), for thirty-eight years. As the nineteenth century's most prolific preacher and writer, his ministry legacy continues today.
J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
JOHN CALVIN (1509–1564) was perhaps the preeminent theologian of the Reformation. Known best for his Institutes of the Christian Religion, he also wrote landmark expositions on most of the books in the Bible.
Alistair Begg serves as the senior pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1975 and served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. He has written several books and is heard daily on the radio program Truth For Life. He and his wife, Susan, have three grown children.
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of several books, including the Preaching the Word commentary on Isaiah, as well as a contributor to the ESV Study Bible. He and his wife, Jani, have four children.
J. C. RYLE (1816–1900) was a prominent writer, preacher, and Anglican clergyman in nineteenth-century Britain. He is the author of the classic Expository Thoughts on the Gospels and retired as the bishop of Liverpool.
JAMES MONTGOMERY BOICE was senior minister of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for thirty years and a leading spokesman for the Reformed faith until his death in June 2000.
R. Kent Hughes (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is senior pastor emeritus of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hughes is also a founder of the Charles Simeon Trust, which conducts expository preaching conferences throughout North America and worldwide. He serves as the series editor for the Preaching the Word commentary series and is the author or coauthor of many books. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, and have four children and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren.
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The devotional was biblically solid and yet warms the soul spiritually with twenty two short chapters that focuses on the narrative of Christ’s birth and the incarnation. The author Nancy Guthrie mentioned that the reason why she put this work together was because of her disappointments with other short readings on the advent out there. In her own words from the preface Guthrie explained how she did not found any advent readings out there that “reflected a high view of Scripture; and that put the incarnation in the context of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. And not finding such a book available, I embarked on what has been a sacred adventure of putting such a collection together” (10). I’m glad she did edited this delightful book and compiled the writings that she did.
The book has a good mix of classic preachers from the past and contemporary Christians who are known for their faithfulness to biblical truths. For instance you have chapters featuring men from the past such as Martin Luther, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Augustine and Charles Spurgeon. What these saints of old have to say is timeless. Then you have chapters by living saints such as John Piper, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and Joni Eareckson Tada. The first chapter by George Whitefield had me hooked when Whitefield encourages the readers to contemplate upon the birth of Christ by saying “Other conversations, by often repeating, you become fully acquainted with, but of Christ there is always something new to raise your thoughts; you can never want when the love of the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject” (13). How true that has been in looking back in my own thought life about the Lord. I don’t know why but this first chapter really drew me into the book. Personally I also thought Joseph “Skip” Ryan’s chapter on “Tabernacle among Us” and Randy Alcorn’s chapter on “Shepherd Status” also stood out; I was thinking about the truth found in both chapters for days.
I enjoyed this work and I recommend it. I recommend it as a personal individual reading. When I read this book I read it aloud with my wife as part of our marriage devotionals. The chapters are short enough to allow a couple with busy ministry and multiple kids under five to really get the day going spiritually. We enjoyed it very much and I recommend this as a book for family devotionals as well.
Included are pieces from the sermons, essays or books of both historical and contemporary Christians. I've decided that listing the contributors would be more useful than anything else in helping you decided whether these are essays you would enjoy reading, so here you are, from first to last:
* George Whitefield
* Joseph "Skip" Ryan
* Martin Luther
* John Piper
* Tim Keller
* Martyn Lloyd-Jones
* J. Ligon Duncan III
* Jonathan Edwards
* Charles Spurgeon
* Saint Augustine
* J. I. Packer
* John Calvin
* Alistair Begg
* Randy Alcorn
* John MacArthur
* Raymond C. Ortland, Jr.
* Francis Schaeffer
* J. C. Ryle
* James Montgomery Boice
* R. C. Sproul
* R. Kent Hughes
* Joni Eareckson Tada
Impressive, isn't it?
Some of the specific topics of the reflections are Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, the wisemen's gifts, the Holy Spirit (he did, you remember, have a big role in the incarnation story), Christ's humility, his poverty, and what it means that he became flesh. As you might expect from any collection with pieces from various authors, some are easier to read than others. Some you'll whip through like a summer breeze, and for a few, you'll need your thinking cap.
And as you also might expect, some readings are better than others. The selections are mostly (maybe always) excerpted from larger works, so when I used the word essay to describe them, that was not quite right. That they are parts of larger wholes shows more in some readings than others. If you are expecting tight packages with precise beginnings, middles, ends, and all strings knotted, you may be disappointed a few times as you read through this book.
As I read, I marked two essays with an X, which is my indication that didn't like it or strongly disagreed with it, and one I marked with a question mark because I am unsure whether its whole premise stands. About half of the rest I enjoyed but didn't love, and I thought nine out of the twenty-two were quite wonderful. I won't be telling you which ones are which, since I read this book over a few weeks and have a hunch I didn't judge consistently over time.
I will tell you that my favorite reading was the last one, A Christmas Longing, by Joni Eareckson Tada. Christmas, Joni says, is still a promise, even for those who live on our side of the first Advent.
"Every Christmas is still a "turning of the page" until Jesus returns. Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment."
Ah yes! We don't reflect on this often enough, do we? Christmas calls us to celebrate a glorious event of the past, but it is (and maybe more so) a call to celebrate what is to come.
All in all, Nancy Guthrie gets a blue ribbon from me for her editing choices. The shortcomings in Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus are minor, and not really shortcomings at all, but rather, the unevenness that comes in any collection of essays, particularly when the selections are taken from many authors and from different centuries. I can't think of a Christmas anthology that is better than this one.