The Whole Christmas Story: An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation, and points in between

The Whole Christmas Story: An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation, and points in between

Author : Jo Swinney
£8.99

Advent is a time to remember and reflect on the Christmas story and the baby at its heart. But the virgin birth, the manger, the mysterious eastern visitors and their portentous gifts – all these hint at a much grander narrative. Come and explore the whole Christmas story, and find your place within it.


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Title The Whole Christmas Story: An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation, and points in between
Author Jo Swinney
Description

Advent is a time to remember and reflect on the Christmas story and the baby at its heart. But the virgin birth, the manger, the mysterious eastern visitors and their portentous gifts – all these hint at a much grander narrative. Come and explore the whole Christmas story, and find your place within it.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857469410
  • Published: 17 September 2021
  • Format: Paperback

Advent is a time to remember and reflect on the Christmas story and the baby at its heart. But the virgin birth, the manger, the mysterious eastern visitors and their portentous gifts – all these hint at a much grander narrative. Come and explore the whole Christmas story, and find your place within it.

Jo Swinney is a UK-based author, speaker and editor, with an MA in theology from Regent College, Vancouver. She is director of communications for A-Rocha International and blogs at joswinney.com.

'I have only read half of this book so far but that has been enough for me to endorse it as the best Advent book I have ever come across and to encourage the Ministry Team at our church to select and recommend it this year. This is a book I have wanted to read as distinct from ought to read!  I love Jo’s style of writing .  She makes the profound so accessible and thought provoking.  I am going to start from the beginning again this Advent!'
Jane Cowan

'You’ve got an Advent treat in store with The Whole Christmas Story! I was educated, encouraged, challenged and moved. Our journey to Bethlehem begins in Eden, not Nazareth, and ends in a garden city, not Egypt. Jo Swinney reminds us that the Christmas story is part of God’s bigger story, and it’s one into which we are invited to play our part. It’s a whole story for the whole of life. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Christmas.'
Paul Woolley, chief executive, LICC

Church Times 22.10.21. Review by Lavinia Byrne


The Whole Christmas Story – reviewed by Lavinia Byrne 

Here is a book that resolutely keeps the reader’s attention focused on Advent by gazing at the liturgical season through the lens of Christmas rather than the other way round.

Subtitled An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation and points in between, it has a full scriptural reach, bringing texts from both the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament for exploration.

With daily readings reaching from 1 December to 6 January, the book likewise embraces more than a calendar month, although the reader should be warned that Advent this year begins on 28 November. Along with the biblical texts, Jo Swinney provides a commentary, a reflection, and a prayer. As head of communications at A Rocha, an international charity specialising in ‘conservation and hope’, she has also worked for the Bible Society and the Scripture Union, using the MA in Theology which she gained from Regent College, Vancouver.

So far, so straightforward. But, as she describes in her introduction, a personal tragedy occurred early on as she was writing it, namely the death of her mother in a car accident in South Africa. This could have put a stop to her writing, only, as she herself observes, Advent is a ‘time of anticipation’, and so it exposes the reader to the themes of ‘salvation and restoration’. What could have been an academic exercise becomes something alive and actual. This sense of the reality of what the incarnation brings into our world — both on a personal and a public level — is best reflected in the book’s prayers, which are beautifully and authoritatively written.

This Advent will be unlike any other, in so far as the actual celebration of Christmas will seem more possible than it did a year ago. How timely to have a book that captures the moment.

Lavinia Byrne is a writer and broadcaster.

 

Review by Lucy Rycroft in her blog The Hope Filled Family

If you’re looking for an Advent guide which will widen your experience beyond the gospel retellings, here it is. Like a grown-up version of the Jesse Tree, The Whole Christmas Story does just that: it ponders the whole Christmas story, starting with creation in Genesis and ending with the new heaven and new earth described in Revelation. The format is traditional: Bible passage (helpfully included in full), followed by articulate and warm commentary. Jo Swinney expounds Scripture deeply and wisely, with nuance which stems from a recent tragedy. A worthy companion to your Advent.