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Timothy Keller - Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ

Hodder and Stoughton 148 pages ISBN 978 1 473 64258 4 £12.99

This slim volume of eight chapters represents the careful distillation of 40 years of Christmas preaching; many sermons on these biblical texts are boiled down into these stimulating chapters.

Keller takes the reader on a thought-provoking journey through the Christmas story.  He pauses at all the familiar places but also lingers for a while at some less usual ports of call. Preachers always need a little bit of extra help during Advent and Christmas – so many services full of strangers; how do we connect without stating the obvious or being trite? There is always something more in the Christmas story to find.

Keller tells a story about his own journey of reading familiar stories with a patient and curious eye. Both new and seasoned preachers will find stimulus here.

I liked the way he uses the idea of the longings stirred in fairytales as echoes of what is satisfied in the true story of the first Christmas. The book would make an attractive and welcome stocking-filler for anyone who does any speaking, or for anyone interested in thinking about what Christmas really means.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

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