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The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem

by Adam Hamilton

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1782116,480 (4.7)2
Journey with Adam Hamilton as he travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in this fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. As he did with Jesus' crucifixion in24 Hours That Changed the World, Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event w
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It is the beginning of the greatest story ever told. Whether you've heard it in church on a candlelit Christmas Eve or through the voice of Linus in a Charlie Brown Christmas, you likely know the story of Mary, visited by an angel with the message that she is carrying a very special baby. Of Joseph, who learns that his betrothed is great with child. Of the shepherds, who are also visited by angels and are the first to see the baby Jesus born in a manger. Of the birth of the Son of God.

Familiar stories are comforting. I can hear the Christmas story read in the voice of my grandpa, my dad, my mom, my brother and me - all of us at one time or another at the pulpit of the church that I grew up in. I can picture my boys in various shepherd costumes, acting out the scene. I can look across my living room and see at least 4 nativities - hand carved wood or plastic Little People figures. I can sing the songs of that Silent Night and the baby laid Away in a Manger.

But sometimes familiar stories lose their meaning. In this book, Adam Hamilton takes us through the familiar story of Jesus's birth, raising questions that we may not have considered and pointing out the relevance for our lives. These events were not easy for Mary or Joseph. It is not difficult to imagine that they each wondered, "Why me?" Mary could have been killed for conceiving out of wedlock. The journey to Bethlehem couldn't have been easy either. I have been eight months pregnant on two Christmases, and as I squirmed to find a comfortable position in the pew at church, I couldn't even imagine riding a donkey or giving birth in a stable. And anyone who has spent the night with a newborn likely knows that it was not a silent night. Although Elizabeth describes Mary as blessed multiple times when Mary visits her, this is not our typical understanding of a blessing.

This story teaches us many things, among them: "God's blessing are not about ease and comfort, but rather about the joy of being a part of God's work, being used by God for God's purposes, and being accompanied by God's presence, particularly in the face of adversity." When we ask to be blessed, we may be asking for more than we expect. But like Mary, we don't walk alone on these journeys. As Hamilton observes, "All of us take unwanted journeys, but God always walks with us on these journeys. God works through them and redeems them, and these difficult journeys will never be the end of our story!"

It is also noteworthy that Jesus was born to humble parents in a humble place. Again Hamilton comments, "God has a special concern for the poor, the humble, and those whom others overlook. If we are truly to celebrate Christmas and honor the generous spirit of Mary's Magnificat, we must look at ways we can be used by God to "send the hungry away full.""

There is much more in this slim volume - so many ways to see the Christmas story in a new light and to see ourselves as a part of the story. For me, this was the right book at the right time. ( )
  porch_reader | Dec 23, 2014 |
I just completed a Bible study on this very informative book. The journey begins in Nazareth, where Mary learns that she was chosen to bring Christ into the world, and continues to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

But Bethlehem was not the end of this story. The journey continues from Bethlehem and then on to Calvary. Our lives are full of difficult journeys, but Scripture tells us that God will walk with us on these journeys and bring good from them. And these difficult journeys will never be the end of our story, just as Calvary was not the end of Christ's story.

Beautifully written, this book will certainly enhance the Advent season. 5 stars ( )
  wrbinpa | Nov 17, 2014 |
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Journey with Adam Hamilton as he travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in this fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. As he did with Jesus' crucifixion in24 Hours That Changed the World, Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event w

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Journey with Adam Hamilton as he travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in this fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. As he did with Jesus' crucifixion in "24 Hours That Changed the World," Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event with thoughtfulness. Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history will become more real and heart-felt as you walk along this road.
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