UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: A Christmas Compendium
A Christmas Compendium A Christmas Compendium

J John
ISBN 9780826487490 (0826487491)
Continuum, 2005

Category: Seasonal
Subcategory: Advent & Christmas

A hard-shelled, one-seeded fruit.
Nuts, like fruit, were the original Christmas tree decorations. Nutcrackers dressed as soldiers were popular Christmas decorations after Tchaikovsky's ballet became famous in the 1890s...

That's a brief extract from one of the entries in this fascinating book, an A-Z of Christmas with entries ranging from Advent through to Zwarte Piet — and if you don't know what Zwarte Piet is, what more excuse do you need to buy the book? There's only one letter of the alphabet that's missing, O, so for the next edition I'd like to suggest an entry for Open Christmas, the charitable venture that provides food and shelter for homeless people over the Christmas period. Or perhaps for Organization — ask anyone given the job of preparing Christmas dinner!

You'll find the background of Christmas Carols explained, information about the increasingly popular Christingle service and the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as well as comments about Commercialism and details about some of the key players in the biblical story: Angels, the Innkeeper, Shepherds and the Magi (or wise men). Ever wondered why we associate Mistletoe with Christmas? Or been concerned about the ever-increasing use of the abbreviation "Xmas"? What about Brandy Butter, Robins and Turkeys? Here's where you'll find the answers, some serious, some light-hearted, all in J John's own engaging style.

More than a simple collection of Christmas trivia, this is a mini-encyclopaedia of what Christmas is about: J John is an evangelist and never misses a trick when it comes to bringing his readers back to Jesus, who is, of course, the reason we celebrate Christmas rather than some sort of Winterval.

If you're looking for a Christmas gift book that connects with the true Spirit of Christmas, look no further: wrap a copy up and give it away!

Phil Groom, October 2005

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.


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