Walking Backwards to Christmas
Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell
I’m a big fan of first–person narratives from biblical characters and this one is no different in its appeal. This is a great read for during Advent or over the Christmas season. Bishop Stephen Cottrell takes us through the Christmas story backwards, as it were, starting with Anna in the temple, moving to Rachel, a mother of one of the slaughtered first-born sons, then to (among others) Herod, the innkeepers wife, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Mary, and finally to two prominent Old Testament figures, Isaiah and Moses. Their stories are moving and thought provoking, and Bishop Stephen really imagines the different characters and voices well in each chapter. He also addresses the dark components of the story; for instance, the chapter by Rachel is piercing in her mother’s grief. Or Anna’s decades – long loneliness as a widow, which slowly is eclipsed by her love of God. Or the power-mongering of Herod; or the strife between Joseph and Mary over the questionable pregnancy. All stories worth considering, but not often addressed in seeker friendly carol or candlelight services. A great read and one to help us not lose sight of the true meaning of the season.
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