Beating the Holiday Rush: A Book Recommendation

by Meredith Johnson

By now, the turkey has been polished off on sandwiches, and nothing is left of the pecan pie but crumbs. The pumpkins have been put away, and the stockings and ornaments pulled out of closets and attics. The Christmas season always starts off fast out of the gate and doesn’t seem to slow down until bowl games are wrapped up and promises are made to only have salads and water for dinner every night. All of a sudden the season is over – a season when we are meant to celebrate God’s Greatest Gift to Us. But a season that is often, sadly, filled with rush and gloom.

I wanted to recommend one book that I have loved over the years and that has meant so much to me – Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas edited by Nancy Guthrie. One of my favorite Christmas season traditions is to sit with my coffee in the morning (or maybe this year in the afternoon) and read a chapter and reflect on what the words mean in my own life, preparing my heart for Christmas.

In her preface, Nancy writes that she often allowed Christmas to “sneak up on her.” I speak for many when I say that is a very common feeling! Her search for Advent readings came up dry, so she “embarked on a sacred adventure of putting such a collection together.”

She adapts sermons and essays into four to five page chapters – from Saint Augustine to Charles Spurgeon to Tim Keller and First Presbyterian Church’s own Ligon Duncan.

She has also compiled Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross – Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter in a similar format. For other books written or edited by Nancy Guthrie, visit

May you be blessed this Advent season!