Joy to the World: How Christ’s coming changed everything (and still does)
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.
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 Hahn details and explains various aspects of the Christmas story.
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 a 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 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 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 a foreshadowing of his crucifixion. My favorite mind-blowing theological point that 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 12-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 book’s October release. 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.
Stuart Dunn lives in Mobile with his wife and son and reviews books, Bible studies and CDs for major Catholic publishers. His blog is at http://stuartsstudy.blogspot.com/2014/12/joy-to-world-image-books.html?m=1