- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143133780
- ISBN-13: 978-0143133780
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 174 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ Paperback – October 30, 2018
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“[A] great gift book . . . Keller achieves his pastoral goal of teaching Christmas’ most important message—‘God alone has the life, truth, and joy that we lack and cannot generate ourselves’—and in doing so, provides solace for those who seek it.”
Praise for Timothy Keller and his other books:
“Superb . . . we should be grateful to Keller for his wisdom, scholarship, and humility.”
—The Gospel Coalition
“Tim Keller’s ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him.”
“Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller’s skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience. . . . Observing Dr. Keller’s professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal.”
—The New York Times
“Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.”
About the Author
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of Making Sense of God, The Songs of Jesus, Preaching, Prayer, as well as The Meaning of Marriage, The Prodigal God, and The Reason for God, among others.
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Keller manages to get beyond the matters that divide in our current social scene and strikes right to the heart of our brokenness and sin. You can hand Hidden Christmas to the most radical leftist, or to a Constitutional conservative, and neither will be offended by anything but the presentation of the cross itself.
I’ve read a few, not all, of Keller’s books. This is the best so far, which is saying a lot since the others have been so good. In Hidden Christmas the author takes the Christmas texts from Matthew and Luke and carefully unfolds their meanings. A Liberty and Westminster grad, I’ve been preaching and teaching since 1978, and in every chapter Keller is writing about things I’ve never noticed in these passages of Scripture, and they are powerful and profound!
Hidden Christmas is the gospel presentation you’ve been waiting for. Get a copy, enjoy it yourself, and then pass it on to a loved one.
Detailed Description: I am a real Tim Keller fan. His books have been revolutionary for my ability to articulate difficult matters about the Christian faith. Like other brilliant writers, he is able to take complex theological and philosophical tensions and state them with clarity and simplicity. As a result, I am eager to read anything he publishes. So, I was quick to purchase Hidden Christmas when it was released.
I wasn't disappointed. In Hidden Christmas, Keller looks at the traditional Christmas texts - texts that honestly can get "old" when you think you've heard them a thousand times. But Keller has a way of putting a new light on old texts so that you see them with fresh eyes. That was exactly what I was hoping for - and I walked away with renewed excitement about the Christmas story. My favorite chapter was called The Mothers of Jesus, a chapter that looked at the women mentioned in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus. It is both shocking and deeply encouraging that women were mentioned at all when you understand the cultural setting of the original writings, and then to see that Jesus' resume included outcasts, social rejects, and people of low repute... it renews your appreciation for grace and gratitude for a humble God.
In the end, Keller clearly wants to once again make you amazed and grace and filled with gratitude in response to such a generous God. And, as usual, he hits his mark.
There are eight chapters in the book and it is an easy and enjoyable read. The whole book can be read 2-3 hours. It is, as everything Keller writes, encouraging to those who are already followers of Jesus and engaging for those who are not. So, it could make a great Christmas present for either your pastor or your unbelieving neighbor.
Hidden Christmas is the product of a lifetime of Keller’s Christmas sermons. This amalgamation covers the breadth of the Christmas story beginning with its roots in the Old Testament, as the Israelites yearned for the freeing savior King promised to them. Whether a believer (in Jesus) or not, a reader will find much of interest in this short read. And I think that’s really the strength of this book: Keller covers so much that there’s bound to be something in it that will give you pause to consider what Jesus’ birth in a manager means.
Personally, I finished Hidden Christmas with a newfound understanding for just how significant it was that God became man (i.e., the incarnation). The Old Testament contains volumes on the just how carefully the people of Israel had to approach even the presence of God in their temple. There are literally pages and pages, in fact, that detail the cloth, the spacing, the colors, the time of day, the season, the sacrifices, the materials, all the prerequisites just for the Israelite priests to commune with God and atone for their people’s sins.
Then God (i.e., Jesus) becomes a baby in a manager. Now all that has to happen for the people of Israel to approach God is to merely COME. Come and adore him...in a manager, as a defenseless baby. That’s changes--that changed everything. We take the ability to talk to, to pray to, to approach God ourselves for granted today and the Christmas story should remind us of how incredible this is.
God has experienced the depth of humanity: despair, death, pain and suffering. He has come alongside us.
We have more info today than Mary did because we know the Gospel story. But her faith was amazing because she accepted her role without knowing the scope and breadth of what her son Jesus would do. She didn’t know then that he would die on a cross, be raised again and save humanity. How much more then should we have faith in His promises.
God/Jesus became man, God laid aside his glory for vulnerability instead. Think to the Old Testament passages and all the precautions Israelites had to take just to approach God in the temple...then boom, Jesus comes and he’s lying there in a manager for all to see (48-9)
The Old Testament lineage and parallels are fairly significant and all point to Jesus’ coming. It’s worthwhile to read this section of the book for how concisely Keller lays it all out (76).
“Such in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which science presents for our belief... That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” (9)
“Christmas shows [God] knows what you’re going through.” (14)
“Christmas is not “Once upon a time story that happened that shows us how we should live better lives.” No! He broke into the world to save us. Christ the savior is born!” (39)
“Two questions for professing Christians: “First are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do, whether you like it or not? Second, are you willing to trust God in anything he sends into your life, whether you understand it or not.” (91).
“The [Bible’s] lesson is that the medium is not the message, that we must not ignore uncomfortable truths just because they come through an unimpressive messenger.” (104)
“Thy word is like a deep, deep mine;//and jewels rich are rare//are hidden in its mighty depths//for every searcher there.” (107)
“The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns.” (119)