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For many reasons the Christmas season is a favorite time of year for most of us, and for Christians there is the added delight of being reminded of the gloriously good news of God who came to our rescue in the advent of Jesus Christ. It’s an amazing piece of news – the pivotal point of history! – and its implications are staggering. Who but God himself would have imagined it? Who but God would ever love like this? That God the Father would send his own Son to become one of us in order to do for us all that he required of us, to bear the curse and wrath of God against us for our sin against him – this is good news like no other. And if this is our joy every day of the year, it is our delight every Christmas season to be reminded of it all in heavier doses.
This is the purpose and the value of John Piper’s new The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. As the subtitle implies, The Dawn of Indestructible Joy consists of very brief daily devotional readings from John Piper for each day of December leading up to Christmas – 25 readings, plus an Introduction that sets the theme at the beginning and a full-length Christmas sermon in conclusion. Harvested from sermons that Piper has preached over the years, each devotional reading addresses some dimension of the wonderful advent theme.
Here are the chapter headings and corresponding biblical passages under discussion:
Praying for Fullness This Christmas (John 1:14–16)
The Search-and-Save Mission (Luke 19:10)
Prepare Your Heart for Christ (John 5:44)
Draw Near to the Savior (Heb. 13:20–21)
What Advent Is All About (Mark 10:45)
Why Christmas Happened (1 John 3:5, 8)
God’s Passion for God at Christmas (John 12:27–28)
He Comes to Bless Us (Acts 3:22–26)
God Can Be Trusted (Acts 3:22–26)
Why the Son of Man? (John 1:51)
What Christmas Came to Destroy (1 John 3:8)
The Celebration of God’s Love (John 3:16)
The Glory of the Word Made Flesh (John 1:1)
Christmas Cut History in Half (Acts 3:24)
The Mercy He Promises (Rom. 15:8–9)
Our Truest Treasure (Matt. 2:10)
Freed to Be Part of God’s Family (Mark 10:45)
He Came to Serve (Mark 10:44)
Graciously and Tenderly Frustrating (Rom. 3:25–26)
The Gift You Cannot Buy (Acts 17:24–25)
Receive His Reconciliation (Rom. 5:11)
Get Your Eyes Ready for Christmas (Matt. 16:15–17)
Something Worth Singing About (Heb. 8:4–10)
Our Deepest Need at Christmas (Mic. 5:4–5)
Enjoy All the Promises of God (Mic. 5:2–4)
Grace: The Dominant Note of Christmas (John 6:51)
A Savior Is Born! God Gets the Glory, You Get the Peace (Luke 2:11–14)
The readings are brief (just two or three small size pages; fewer than 90 pages of text total), to the point, and vintage Piper, who passionately guides us to glory in the glory of God in Christ and in the “great joy” that is meant to be our daily experience. The readings regularly touch familiar Piper themes, and they are delightfully Christ-centered, gospel-shaped, and joy-giving.
To take a sample, Piper’s December 10 reading, “What Christmas Came to Destroy,” focuses on 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Applying the significance of this for us, Piper summarizes,
Thus says the Lord: the meaning of Christmas is that what is good and precious in your life need never be lost, and what is evil and undesirable in your life can be changed.
Or, for another sample, his December 13 reading is taken from Acts 3:24,
“And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.”
Piper titles this reading, “Christmas Cut History in Half” – a glorious perspective indeed!
This delightful little book will be a boon to those preachers who wonder each December where they will find a text for their next Christmas sermon – you perhaps didn’t know there were so many “Christmas” texts in the Bible! And for all Christians this will serve as a refreshing daily reminder of the value of Jesus Christ who came in answer to God’s repeated promises … for us and for our salvation.
It’s a great gift idea … but given that the readings begin December 1, you may not want to wait until Christmas to give it! Buy them by the box, and hand them out at church!
Fred G. Zaspel
Buy the books
The Dawning Of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings For Advent