Yesterday was such a long post and since the original plan was to split up these book reviews for Tuesday and Wednesday and we are only given one day…we shall jump right in and I will TRY and be brief.
Sharing in the order I read these:
The Royal Way of the Cross is a collection of writings by Francois Fenelon and edited by Hal M. Helms; published in 1982.
Fenelon was a Catholic arch bishop who also served as a tutor to the 7 year old Duke of Burgundy, second in line to throne of France under Louis XIV. He was a follower of the Quietest movement and strongly associated with Madame Guyon.
Because of their devotion to contemplative faith and extreme devotion to God, they fell out of favor with the royal courts. His story and life are fascinating. His writings are based on his belief that:
“…God was in all things in his own life and the life of his readers – in things fair and things unfair, things pleasant and things unpleasant. And he invites us to share this way of looking at life.”The Royal Way of the Cross, Francois Fenelon edited by Hal M. Helms, Paraclete Press 1982. Introduction, pg. X
I loved the book. It was like having a wise counselor speak into my daily life and was a refreshing perspective that is applicable to my own struggles and desire to grow in my faith.
This is one I will keep and go back to since almost every page was marked up. Each chapter is like a short message and I learned so much. Here is a classic bit of advice to give you an idea of the wisdom he shares.
“One excellent method of maintaining inward calmness and freedom is to keep putting aside all useless reflections on the past, whether of regret or self-satisfaction. When on duty is accomplished, go steadily on to the next, continuing your attention entirely to the one thing God gives you to do and not putting off difficulties for the future any more than dwelling on regrets from the past.”The Royal Way of the Cross, Francois Fenelon edited by Hal M. Helms, Paraclete Press 1982. Introduction, Pg. 127
Great wisdom like this flows on every page. Highly recommend this one.
The second book I read was The Christmas Miracle by Jack Hayford. I believe this was a gift and I set it out every year with other Christmas devotionals and yet had never read.
This one I struggled with. I have always enjoyed reading or listening to Jack Hayford, but the material in this made me uncomfortable on a couple of levels.
The premise of the book is a kind of comparison with the miracle “birthed” in Mary and other big things God wants to do through all of us that He places inside of us. And so throughout the book there is this constant reference to the physical processes that go along with a pregnancy and delivery.
It made me squirm sometimes and I did a lot of skimming.
I am not saying the book is wrong, but it definitely was a one and done for me.
I did find two things that were worth jotting down.
One is an oft repeated theme throughout the book that says, “Your Holy Father is read to bring wonders TO you, to work them IN you, that THROUGH you, He might change the world AROUND you.”
The other is an explanation of the phrase, “With God nothing will be impossible” in Luke 1: 27. Hayford said a more accurate translation is:
“No word of God is without the inherent power to fulfill its intent.”The Christmas Miracle, Jack Hayford. Regal Books, 1999. Pg. 129
That packs a punch and I will be mulling that one over for a while.
The third book I read was also gifted at some point I am pretty sure. On this Holy Night is a collection of sermons/writings from some well known Christian pastors and authors.
The list includes:
Wouldn’t you know the selection from Hayford was the same material as the book I just reviewed above. Irony.
This book was published in 2013 and as we all know, a couple of those names have had some serious detours since then.
I am not a fan of throwing previous works away when a pastor grows in a different direction than expected or turns out to be human. But even with an open mind, none of the selections really grabbed my attention.
I found myself skimming through hoping to find something that might be worthwhile to save, but I didn’t so it also is going to be passed along to someone who I pray has just the word from God they need at just the right time. Again, not a bad book, just nothing noteworthy and I will be passing along through donation.
The last book is probably my absolute favorite Christmas book to read: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
The story is told from the first person viewpoint of a grade school girl whose mother has the annual, predictable church Christmas pageant dumped in her lap when the long time director has an injury rendering her bed-ridden for the season.
Things take a twist when the worst family in town gets involved in the production.
I read it in a day and was literally laughing out loud in several places.
The way this story is told is refreshing and funny and yet so poignant.
If you have never read it, do yourself a favor and turn off the TV from any Christmas movie and let this story spark your imagination and touch your heart. I will be keeping this one forever.
So there are my thoughts about the books. As always, would love to know what you are reading and remember….if I didn’t care for one that is a favorite of yours or you don’t care for my picks, reading is subjective. It’s good to discuss and share our opinions.
Blessings on you as you grow and study.
Tomorrow we begin the Countdown to Christmas. Hope you will join me for the journey <3