In this next book review from the Southlands College community, Community Chaplaincy Worker Bill Topping reviews The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder.
The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is a perfect accompaniment for the upcoming period of advent in 2020 – a month of waiting at the end of a year in which most of us feel tired of doing just that.
Gaarder’s beautiful book, which is specifically designed to be read over the period of advent (a chapter a day), offers the perfect mix of escapism and hope, two emotions which much of the world has longed for during this pandemic year.
Combining cosy Scandinavian fairy-tale ambiences with the thrilling adventure of a large-scale epic, child-friendly story-telling and profound theological, philosophical and historical insights, this book captures the true meaning of Christmas.
The parallel stories of a young boy with a magical advent calendar and a young girl travelling across the world and back in time to Bethlehem charms and stimulates the reader who is a willing companion on the ride. Join Joachim and Elisabet as they learn about family, history, geography and faith, all in easily digestible chapters that will have both children and adults gripped. Along the way we meet characters from the Christmas story, visit places significant to the history of Christianity and are posed questions about family, nature and faith.
Christmas in the 21st century has lost much of its mystery; through this book we are transported right back to the heart of the mystery and wonder that is central to the Christmas message.
During these strange times in which we live, the Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder may help you not just to stay hopeful, but to have a more enlightened Christmas than ever.
Within the University of Roehampton, the Chaplaincy Community at Barat House are going to work through this book for advent. You are invited to join us. Email Bill Topping for more information.
Bill Topping is the Methodist Chaplaincy Community Worker at the University of Roehampton.