20 December 2007

25 Days to Christmas

Elusive 25 Days to Christmas Worth the Hunt
By Kristin Battestella

Well, of course I’m late, and the book is no longer in print, but I had to share my thoughts on the surprising 25 Days to Christmas-A Journey to the True Joy and Meaning of Christmas by Randy Hurst.

My nieces enjoy easy reading and devotional type books. I often find them knick knack gift books at thrift stores or second hand shops. Sometimes the books contain personal notes and writings inside. It gives away the used nature of the material, but these marks also add more intrigue to the book. I discovered the unmarked 25 Days to Christmas for a quarter and intended to give it to my nieces-or at least read it aloud with them when they visited. Instead I ended up keeping it for myself.

Although the trends of a secular Christmas or a non religious December make headlines in the media and keep cash registers cha-chinging, Religious observances are making a comeback. The celebration of Advent has become popular in recent years, and I expected 25 Days to be a Chicken Soup type work for the season-personal stories and devotionals with Bible verses showing how one can retune this hectic time of year.

But no. Here’s where the subtitle A Journey to the True Joy and Meaning of Christmas comes to play. The book’s 25 devotions are- for lack of a better phrase- Christ in a nutshell. The First begins with the prophecy of John the Baptist’s birth and the twenty-fifth ends with the ascension of Christ. The days in between are filled with Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection. From the Beatitudes to the Last Supper, it’s all in 25 Days to Christmas.

I know what you’re thinking. This book is about Christmas isn’t it? Jesus’ birth, right? The Resurrection’s Easter, isn’t it? No, I’m not confused like Martha Stewart- who doesn’t seem to realize purple is the traditional Easter color, unlike red and green for Christmas. Hurst’s book is meant to remind readers of the ‘reason for the season’ Jesus Christ. Without his birth, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, now would we?

There is something magical about reading on the Resurrection at Christmas. Hurst keeps the passages and verses presented in the American Standard feel-none of that King James Version thee and thou that some can find difficult to understand. The simplistic nature of the writing-and perhaps the understated and subdued nature of Christ himself- leave much food for though after your reading. You want to read more than just the day’s pages.

With each reading, I’ve been amazed at 25 Days’ main notion. When the heart of Christmas is at focus, it’s usually mangers and Silent Night, Bethlehem, and Ave Maria. It’s fascinating to reaffirm what this child would become instead. His gentility, his sacrifices, the salvation he brings. To read of the Crucifixion at Christmas truly brings forth the statement of everlasting light, Alpha and Omega, the beacon of hope at winter’s darkest hour. No beginning, no end. Candles and wreaths can suddenly have much more meaning! 

I left 25 Days to Christmas by the tub, and now it seems to be everyone’s bathroom read. Strange, almost sacrilegious as it is that it seems we only take time out to reflect while in the bathroom, I’m glad this little paperback has been noticed by each member of my family. Never mind where or when or for how little or long the time, 25 Days to Christmas- A Journey to the True Joy and Meaning of Christmas can inspire anyone to the holiday spirit, whatever day you take that gander.

25 Days to Christmas: A Journey to the True Joy and Meaning of ChristmasI’ve researched online, but is seems Hurst’s 1992 release from Acces Publishing is only available from Amazon market place and private sellers. Top listings are under four dollars, compared to the original $6.95 on my edition. My article here today is about 25 Days to Christmas, but also about similar books as well. The season is nearly over now, and this work is elusive, but an attempt for such inspirations should be made year round. Whether you score a copy of 25 Days to Christmas at your local used bookstore or if you have another annual Christmas devotional, I hope you have an inspirational read each December. Bathroom reading not required.

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