Congregations are often confused or uninspired by the emphasis on Old Testament themes during Advent and too “over” Christmas by December 26 to pay much attention to the Gospel stories that follow Jesus’ birth. Walking Backwards to Christmas starts at the end of the story, with Jesus’ presentation to Anna and Simeon at the temple, and moves backwards through Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, the wise men’s visit, Jesus’ birth in a stable, Mary’s pregnancy, and finally to the much-earlier hopes and dreams of Isaiah and Moses.
Telling the Christmas story through the eyes of both famous figures like King Herod and imagined characters like the innkeeper’s wife, Stephen Cottrell invites readers to experience Jesus’ birth anew, with greater appreciation of the dark themes and ancient figures relevant to the Advent story.
This book is ideal for individual devotion throughout Advent, or for creating a unique sermon series.
“Cottrell truly ‘gets inside’ the characters, including their sorrow and anger and uncertainty as well as their hope and faith. You’ll want to read this book again each Christmas (and other times of the year) as an insightful and moving portrayal of the familiar story.”
—Paul Stroble, author of Walking with Jesus through the Old Testament