Monday, December 1, 2014

Joy to the World (Image Books)

Today I am kicking off the Scott Hahn Joy to the World blog tour. In addition to posting a review of the book, I was also asked to reflect on what Christmas means to me. There is also a giveaway at the end, so be sure to read all the way to the bottom.

Review:
Dr. Scott Hahn has written many books throughout his years as a convert. He has covered the Mass, Sacraments, and sometimes high theology. Joy to the World, however, is his first book dedicated solely to Christmas. Dr. Hahn begins with a personal tale of his family's time in Bethlehem and the impact it had on his daughter Hannah. He then explains that the city of Bethlehem isn't a place you just visit and forget, but changes your life. We then get to the heart of the book in which Dr. Hahn details and explains various aspects of the Christmas story.

Dr. Hahn talks about the differences between St. Matthew and St. Luke and the way they presented the details in their respective Gospels. He talks about genealogies and the key figures listed. He discusses Herod and the killing of the Holy Innocents. There's of course a chapter on Mary, and to my surprise even St. Joseph gets his own chapter. Much appreciated and deserved! There were shepherds and magi, and even focus on the star that led the Magi. He explains that St. John Chrysostom believed that it was actually an angel and not a star. There's even a chapter that talks about all the journeys the Holy Family went on, such as the flight into Egypt.

However, my favorite chapter was the one on the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. I admit that I already knew most of the theology Dr. Hahn explained in this chapter, but I was thrilled that he took the time to explain it and tie it into the Christmas story. One interesting bit of theology is how Jesus' circumcision was foreshadowing to His crucifixion. My favorite mind-blowing theological point that Dr. Hahn made dealt with the lack of a ransom offered for Jesus THE firstborn son. Since no ransom was paid, Jesus belonged to God and was in service to God. This makes the troubling passage of twelve year old Jesus being found in the Temple (Luke 2:48-49), less troubling. Of course he was in His Father's house! That's where He belonged!

Christmas came early this year with the October release of Dr. Hahn's book Joy to the World. If you want to know why Christ's coming mattered then and still matters today, you need this book. If you are someone who simply likes to keep the focus on Christ during Christmas, you'll want this book. Whether it is a treat for you or a gift for someone else, you will not be disappointed. It is perfect to read anytime of the year, not just Advent and Christmas.

To read an interview from Dr. Hahn on his book, click here. This book was provided to me for free by Image Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!

Personal Reflection
Christmas to me means charity. In addition to picking a child or two off our parish's Angel Tree, my wife and I also give to a program that supplies goats to our sister parish in El Salvador. Each year, we save up money to buy goats that help provide a livelihood to needy families. We also have fun picking out names for the goats. One year, I had a William Goat, as in Billy Goat. It's corny. I know, but I'm okay with that. What does Christmas mean to you?

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Check out Day 2 of the blog tour by William O’Leary – Catechesis in the Third Millennium.