Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I told my husband that I just wanted to check out the upstairs quick before we left. We were in Barnes and Noble and I had not found a book I was in the mood for yet. I rode the escalator to the second floor and saw a table with a stack of white books with red letters on them. The childish nerd in me got a little bit excited over the name, Max Lucado, at the top of the white cover. To be honest, I did not notice any other books on that table or even read the synopsis; I just had to have a book by this New York Times bestselling author.
I finally read the synopsis after I had bought Lucado’s book and discovered that it is a Christian book on Christmas. Lucado points out what Christmas means to everyone beyond the decorated trees and presents. Although he is a pastor he does not preach in this book. He very simply explains Jesus’ birth and his role in our Christmas festivities. Right from the first couple sentences I was put in the mood for Christmas time. It starts with: “I love Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. The more trees the better (3).” Lucado took on a heavy subject and kept it light and understandable. He related a lot of past biblical events to events today which helped to make it more relatable. He also quoted scripture often to add to his point while proving that he did not make anything up. Even with the biblical references it still does not come off as preachy. That could be due to Lucado’s ability to keep the topic light and humorous. I laughed often at his anecdotes and sarcasm. The funniest part to me was on pages 119-120 when Lucado goes on about the importance of getting the perfect tree that does not lean. To give you an idea of his sarcastic quality, he says on page 119: “Only a few people have won the U.S. Open, completed an Ironman triathlon, or qualified as Rhodes Scholars. Fewer still have positioned a Christmas tree so that it doesn’t lean.” He goes on about this in a humorous way but then easily transitions to serious when he relates this to how God deals with “leaning trees”.
Lucado is obviously knowledgeable and passionate about every aspect of Christmastime. He enjoys everything from the busy shopping malls to glorifying the story of Jesus’ birth. Pages 137-194 are an Advent Devotional Guide for the month leading up to Christmas day. Every week is a different topic to be studied—hope, peace, joy, and love. Including a devotional in Because of Bethlehem is a smart tactic by Lucado to help keep a person on track of what the true meaning of Christmas is.
(One great thing about reading is you get to learn new words! I came across megalomaniac in Because of Bethlehem. A quick google search told me the definition is, “a person who is obsessed with their own power.”)