Cozy post-Christmas reading

Here's a short list of books appropriate for that quiet reading time after Christmas. Enjoy!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

My Love, God is Everywhere (ages 3-7)

Victoria Robb Powers and Cameron Mason Vickrey (Reverend Mamas)
Tommy Nelson Publishers | Published August 15, 2023

Every night, my three-year-old daughter asks me to read this book aloud, and then she repeats the final sentence of each page. When I hear her saying “God is close like our heartbeat” and “God gets sad, too,” I’m grateful that these are the phrases about God that she hears and remembers. With lovely, simple and expressive illustrations, My Love, God is Everywhere offers children a broader understanding of who God is.

Reviewed by: Irene Pak Lee, mother of two and associate pastor at Stone Church of Willow Glen, California.

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen

David Brooks
Random House, 320 pages | Published October 24, 2023

Reporter David Brooks is used to asking the right questions to get the facts, but in How to Know a Person he shows how to ask questions that instead create “mutual expedition(s) toward understanding.” The result is a deeply engaging book that reads like a guide to pastoral care, yet is equally applicable to professionals and caregivers, helping all of us bring more curiosity and compassion to our conversations.

As a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, Brooks often talks politics, but rest assured, there’s nothing political here. Readers who love (or hate) Brooks will appreciate his willingness to be vulnerable as he traces his journey from reserved observer to engaged listener who seeks to illuminate others, “seeing other people in all their fullness.” Mutuality is essential to his process. As he describes a moment of “beholding” his wife, he writes, “I don’t have to tell you how delicious that moment felt — warm, intimate, profound. It was the bliss of human connection.” Revelations like this make us both eager to read more about Brooks’ process and ready to apply his methods in our own relationships.

Earth to Earth

M.M. Lindvall
Level Best Books, 256 pages | Published October 3, 2023

When a member of a church tour group is murdered on a remote Scottish island, local police assume it’s the work of a serial killer who targets clergy. But Reverend Seth Ludington and his sidekick Harriet van der Berg have other ideas. In search of the truth, they enter a world of dive bars, pagan rituals and the unsettling knowledge that the killer might be one of their own. Earth to Earth is a twisty-turny ride, filled with good cop/bad cop locals, long-held secrets, red herrings and the energy of a “who-dunnit,” all with the wit (and theological asides) we might expect from a father-daughter writing team that includes a retired Presbyterian minister. Earth to Earth is the second in a planned trilogy, and while it easily stands alone, readers eager to avoid spoilers might begin with Dust to Dust.

The Moment of Truth: Reflections on Incarnation and Resurrection

Samuel Wells
Canterbury Press, 128 pages | Published August 31, 2023

Without the resurrection, Jesus’ birth is just a sweet story … and without the incarnation, Jesus’ death is the killing of a beloved teacher, not of God. In The Moment of Truth, Samuel Wells connects the gospel truths of the Christmas story with Jesus’ life and resurrection. It’s a tender little book, filled with Wells’ rich theological insights and wistful stories from his pastoral experiences as a British vicar in the heart of London. This intelligent and devotional read savors the mystery of a God who willingly took on human flesh, confident that looking ahead to Jesus’ death and resurrection now will lead to deeper engagement with the gospel stories in the new year, and at Easter.

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