Mention the word Christmas to most of your friends, family, co-workers, or even complete strangers, and thoughts of a little baby born in a manger and surrounded by Joseph, Mary, shepherds, and three wise man almost immediately come to mind. The manger scene is mostly portrayed as a very pristine place where Jesus comes out clean from Mary’s womb and immediately wrapped in swaddling clothes, there are no bugs crawling around on the floor, and all of the animals have almost stopped what they are doing and are watching the scene unfold before them with seemingly understanding eyes. The fact is that the manger was nothing like that. Jesus came out of the womb dirty just like we did and had to be cleaned up, there were definitely bugs crawling around on the floor, the smell coming from the manger was probably enough to take anyone’s breath away because of all the different animals kept in there, there weren’t just three wise men and they didn’t see Jesus right after He was born, and the Shepherds themselves reeked of sweat from a hard days labor. The point is that things are not always what they seem at first glance, and we should always be willing to dive deeper into the Word to find out exactly what was going on during any given event. And, the best way to get everything out of a text of Scripture that God would have us get, is to ask certain questions of the text and then answer said questions. American evangelicals seemingly gravitate to the “who, what, where, when, and how” of a given text of Scripture, but we either gloss over the “why” because of how much time it is going to take to answer that question, or we just simply ignore altogether because we would rather go on believing what we have naively always believed (see my description of the manger scene above as a small proof of that). The Incarnation, God becoming man, might be a truth that we are all familiar with, but can most of us put into words “why” the Second Person in the Trinity took on flesh and was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was imputed with our sins, crushed by the Father on the Cross, died, was buried, and then rose again on the third day.
“Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation” is a devotional-type book that deals with the “why” question of the Incarnation of Christ. The book makes no claim to be an exhaustive look at all of the reasons why Christ came to die for man’s sin, but it does provide the reader with 31 excellent meditations on why our Savior, whose beauty and worth is almost indescribable, came to this earth as a man. Each chapter is 3-4 pages in length, so, like some of the other reviewers have said, this would make a great devotional book for you to read together with your family throughout the month of December. It presents a unique side to the birth of Christ by answering the “why” question of Christ’s incarnation, which is something that has almost been neglected in modern history. There is no mistaking that the authors, Beeke and Boekestein, desire to cultivate a longing in their readers to dig deeper into the Word of God and reap the rewards of a heart that longs for the truths about the Incarnation of Christ. Furthermore, the moralistic nature in which a lot of people read their Bibles is a foreign concept to these authors, because this is a book that makes much of what Jesus did and not on what we can do to earn favors, or get our “wishes granted”, by celebrating/seeing Christmas like most Americans do. My hope and prayer is that God uses this book mightily to drive His children back to a time in church history where we were not afraid to ask all of the major questions (who, what, where, when, how, and why) of a text of Scripture, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, repent and adjust our lives according to what the Word says (and not what we think it says or want it to say).
I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”