by the attic library

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

The whole of Christ’s story, the crucifixion and the resurrection, began with the power of the incarnation.

So let the ages wonder,
That the angel bore the seed
That the virgin received through her ear
And believing in her heart, bore fruit
                                                     Venatius Fortunatus, Latin Poet .

How does this miraculous entry into humanity affect the stories of our lives — our past, our present, and our future? The Christ Child in the setting of the nativity embodied a prophesy fulfilled, a present hope, and a promise for the future.

This book is a collection of true stories of Christmas. It records the voices of women who, in various stages of life, grasped the eternal, knelt in adoration, and experienced the meaning of the incarnation. These women began their spiritual journeys to the resurrected Christ with a step towards the infant in the manger. They found hope in the pain of despair and contentment in the realities of life. They found constancy in the unexpected because of their faith in a baby in a manger. Like many, they heard the voice of God one silent night.

This is what Jaci Velasquez, a Christian musician who won several Dove awards and had her first Spanish album nominated for the Best Latin Pop Performance Grammy Award, wrote in her Christmas story:

“Even though I’ve heard the original Christmas story so many times, it’s still wonderful to hear it again – the angels, the shepherds, the wise men bringing gifts to the baby in the manger. There’s such comfort in knowing the story will be told again and again and that it will never change.

God promised to be faithful to all generations and He is. It’s up to us to pass on the story of Christmas, just the way my family passes on the tradition of red chilli on mashed potatoes. It’s one thing to pass on tradition of food, but it’s more important to pass on a tradition of truth that affects eternity.”

This book offers many more inspiring true stories of Christmas shared by various women to the author, Janice Chaffee. It is worth your reading.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

Christmas is the season of giving. Consider the first Christmas morning, the lavishness of the gift that came in the form of a tiny, helpless newborn. Consider the gift for a moment, what Jesus really did. He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable. He exchanged the worship of the angels for the company of killers. He could hold the Universe in his palm but he gave it up to float in the womb of a maiden. If you were Jesus, would you sleep on straw instead of in a castle? If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still come? If you know that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? If you knew that the tongues you made would mock you, the mouths you made would spit at you, the hands you made would crucify you, would you still make them? Christ did.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

He went from commanding angels to sleeping on straw, from holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger, the palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier. Why? Because that is what love does.

Read this booklet by Max Lucado, and you will be touched by the real meaning of Christmas.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’ reminded me of the song: Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart; Somewhere, deep inside you, is where Christmas really starts; So, give your heart to Jesus, you’ll discover when you do…. That it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you.

Jesus brings warmth like a winter fire, a light like a candle’s glow; He’s waiting now to come inside, like He did so long ago; Jesus brings gifts of truth and life and makes them bloom and grow; So, welcome Him with a song of joy, and when He comes you’ll know…


Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus. Steve Russo painted a comprehensive history of Christmas, and you may be surprised to read that nobody knew the exact date of Jesus’ birthday. Early Christians did not observe the festival of Christ’s birth, nor did they attach the same importance to His birth that they did to His death and resurrection. Christmas had to wait more than 300 years to be celebrated in any meaningful way.

It does not really matter when is the exact date of Jesus’ birthday, what matter most is that Jesus was born and He came to bring us eternal life. The question is, how do we respond to Christmas – the birth of our Saviour Jesus?

The Early Church established a useful program called “Advent” to observe Christmas in the fourth century, a time of preparation. The length of time varied between three to seven weeks. In the tenth century, an agreement was reached in the Western World that Advent should consist of four Sundays. The first Sunday of Advent occurs on or near 30 November. While always including four Sundays, the season may vary in length from twenty-two days to twenty-eight days, always ending on Christmas Eve. If you want to help your family to find their focus in Christmas, you may want to observe the Advent which is mentioned in detail in Chapter 9 of the book (page 125).

Steve Russo’s concluding remark: We must make every effort to keep ‘Christ’ in Christmas, never losing sight of the fact that Christmas is the birthday of our Saviour. That is the reason we celebrate. Let’s look for creative ways to tell others ‘the reason for the season’. And let’s do all we can to help as many as possible experience God’s ultimate Christmas gift this year!

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

What do we really know about Christmas? What comes across your mind?

Did you know that the wise men of the East did at some point lost sight of the star (Matthew 2:2)? Did you know that the angels did not sing (Luke 2:13-14)? Did you know that the wise men did not come to the manger at the inn; they came to a house (Matthew 2:11)? Did you know that the wise men did not present the gifts to a baby Jesus but to a young child (Matthew 2:16)?

The wise men saw a star the shepherds missed. And the shepherds heard angels the wise men never knew existed. Mary pondered thoughts in her heart that were too deep for the shepherds. And Simeon saw in Christ a sacred significance that even Mary didn’t understand.

The author wrote:

On Christmas, Jesus came into the world that was unhappy, suspicious, fearful, needy; a world of moral degradation, low ethical standards, and bitter hatred. The darkness of that night was matched only by the gloom of the spirit that pervaded the countryside.

But God surprised the world with a great company of the heavenly host appearing with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Christmas is light, more than the light from a new star… it’s the light of God’s eternal love shining through midnight of man’s despair, proving that He believes in mankind.

Christmas is giving, not of wise men to God, but of God to men who would be wise enough to receive the gift of His Son. Every man could have seen the star and understood it, but only the wise men followed it.

To understand the true spirit of Christmas then and now, this book is definitely worth reading.

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