Monday, September 28, 2009

John Blase's "Touching Wonder"

It’s been told so many times, in so many books, movies, plays, in so many sermons, that it’s fallen into almost the status of cliché. So is it possible to tell the story of the birth of Jesus in a way that’s fresh and compelling, that might even recapture the original meaning, which just might take our closed eyes and jaded hearts and open them to the incredible thing that happened in Bethlehem?

The answer is yes. John Blasé does exactly that in “Touching Wonder” (published by David C. Cook; 128 pages; $12.99).

Blasé combines the verses of Luke 1 and 2, Psalm 29 and John, with fictional accounts by Zachariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, and the shepherds to breathe life into our understanding of what happened at the birth of Jesus. He then adds his own handwritten pleas and prayers.

And the result? We’re there. We’re there when Zachariah is struck mute, and Elizabeth goes off by herself to relish her pregnancy of John the Baptist. We’re there with Mary when she hears the angel tell her what is to happen, and she says, “Let it be so with me.” We share Joseph’s frantic desperation as he pounds door to door in Bethlehem, trying to find a place for Mary to give birth. We’re there with the shepherds, who hear the angels singing and do something shepherds would never do – abandon their sheep to see what has happened. We’re there when the baby Jesus is presented to Simeon and Anna in the temple, and Simeon knows he can now die and Anna, old Anna, suddenly sings with the joy of a young girl. And we’re there when the author unburdens his heart in simple prayer letters to God.

It is a Christmas book, the kind you see piled on the tables at Barnes & Noble beginning int helate fall. But it's also more than that, a kind of devotional from a writer who felt compelled to tell the story of Christmas in a different way, a writer who sees himself as part of the story. And that's what we often miss -- we are part of the Christmas story.

“Touching Wonder,” all 128 pages of it, is a treasure. Well done, Mr. Blasé.
Photo of book cover courtesy David C. Cook Publishing.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Nice review, Glynn. I particularly like the insight that the author and you have about being part of the Christmas story. As you note, that's a piece that's all too frequently unmentioned.