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Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas Hardcover – September 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Blase’s publications include the Living the Questions and Living the Letters Bible-study series, the Worldviews reference book (TH1NK), Real Life Stuff for Couples, and The Message Children’s Bible. A former pastor, John currently serves as an editor for David C. Cook. He lives with his wife and three children in Colorado.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434764656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434764652
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,195,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's easy to complain about the consumerism of Christmas. We Christians get all up-in-arms when holiday decorations hit the stores the day after Halloween, when Saint Nicholas is better known as Santa Claus, and when more money is spent on Black Friday at shopping malls than is spent the rest of the year on missions projects. But perhaps a better way to counter the culture is by engaging more in the Christmas narrative. This isn't so easy to do. Although we find nostalgia singing the same carols every year, sometimes the lyrics come out automatically without us really pondering their meaning. Sometimes when we ramble off the Christmas story it sounds as plastic as the figurines in our nativity sets.

John Blase's new book, Touching Wonder, is an antidote for going through another "Christmas as normal" season. Blase retells the stories surrounding Jesus' birth, starting with Zechariah being struck dumb in the temple when he finds out he is going to be a late-life father and ending twelve chapters latter with Anna and Simeon viewing the Christ child after his parents bring baby Jesus to the temple to be dedicated.

The stories are told from the perspective of the participants, their hopes, fears and feelings expressed with descriptions that will bring you to tears. The Incarnation is truly full of wonder and Blase has artfully crafted these stories to pull the reader into the raw and the reality of Jesus' birth. Each chapter is preceded with a passage of scripture (using Eugene Peterson's, "The Message") and is followed by an application prayer from the heart of the author. The book also has some simple, yet beautiful sketches that fit the stories.

Not only do I plan to read "Touching Wonder" during this Advent with my family, I also plan to send this book to several friends. Recapturing the awe of Christmas is truly a gift worth giving!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Recapturing the Awe of Christmas!"

The Nativity narrative from A Charlie Brown Christmas, the annual pageant at Downtown Tall Steeple Church, at Remote Rural Neighborhood Parish. Shop windows, living room manger sets, greeting cards, too. Touching Wonder is just right for this Christmas, since this is Luke's lectionary year... but wait! We read Luke's account every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but nonetheless Caesar, Herod, John the Baptist, the Jerusalem Temple, Luke's subversive canticles, divine surprises, angels and shepherds, still set the scene so very well for traveling again through Luke's gospel during RCL year C.

Passages from Eugene Peterson's The Message open each of the dozen chapters; author John Blase then provides a reflective response in the form of an imaginatively possible story in the same style and mood as Peterson's language, and concludes with prayer printed on parchment in a handwriting font―or maybe in the author's own hand. The prayers form a helpful model of what ours might be as we consider these texts and their meanings in our lives. Besides the Luke pericopes, there's a brief John 17:1-5 "clip" from Jesus' high priestly prayer; it follows Psalm 29:3-10, subtitled "The Father."

This would be a perfect seasonal gift for almost anyone, church-goer or not. The excellent fit of Peterson's and Blase's language to the earthiness, messiness, and politicalness of Luke's über-familiar chronicle well might make a skeptic take another look at the eschatological enterprise called "Christianity." Or maybe not. In any case, who would not be delighted by Amanda Jolman's literally lovely illustrations?

A big "thank you" that I was able to get the kindle version of Touching Wonder as a free download!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Touching Wonder provides a great condensed version of the Christmas story. But it tells another perspective of the story, a perspective that addresses the spaces in between the epic moments. It doesn't adress prophecy or symbols but rather doubts and suspicions and fatigue and second guessing. It epitomizes a poet thinking out the steps of the people as they all moved toward a manger.

Touching wonder intends to be an "earthy" perspective of the Immaculate Conception and so dwells a lot on sensations--touch and hearing and smelling. It also talks about awe and so tells the story in second person-like watching over shoulders rather than providing a bird's eye view of the grand scheme of it. Woven in and out is the author's own musings, presented as intermittent letters to God addressing morales garnered from the story. In that way, the tale is a lot like a personal devotion or Bible study.

It makes an apt exercise for the start of the holiday season-an effective way to re-ground and avoid the apathetic commercial Sirens' song typical of the holidays.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book disappointing. Billed as “Recapturing the Awe of Christmas,” it didn’t live up to its title. First of all, the handwritten letters from John that began each chapter were very hard to make out. I didn’t like all the added, gritty details, either. I don’t think there needs to be anything added to the details of the Christmas story to make it awesome. As it turned out, this account was way too fictionalized for me with thoughts, attidtudes, and details not given in the Bible's account. In fact, I think it should have been categorized as Christian fiction.
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