Here is a book in which the birth of a male child signals hope for the whole world. The child is hunted by an evil ruler (remember Herod?), fathered by a man named Luke, Christened by a man named Theo (the Gospel of Luke is addressed to Theophilis), and born of a woman with a deformed hand. Hope comes through an unexpected, rejected mother. Soon after the child’s birth, rulers visit in wonder, almost reverent worship (not three magi from the east, but close). The birth of the helpless child brings an end to tyranny, a tyranny driven by hopelessness and despair.
Seeking a safe place to give birth, the mother is forced to flee the danger posed by the evil ruler. At one point her traveling party is imperiled and one member of the group is killed that the others might live. The mother says, “He died for me,” another lady in the traveling party answers, “He died for us all.”
This book is about real life. It is deeply Christian. We Christians should embrace the western literary tradition for what it is, our own preserve—a preserve of the great ideas that grow out of belief in God as he is revealed in the Bible.
I am grateful for Justin Taylor’s recent post on a movie based on this novel to be released Christmas day, and even more grateful to have read this book. Actually, I didn’t read it, I listened to it. I checked the book on tape out from the public library and listened to it while I folded clothes, raked leaves, did dishes. But it’s so good that I’ve ordered a copy to re-read and quote.
Much more could be said about the way that this volume explores the hopelessness and vanity of life without God. There were passages that made me want to be a better husband to my wife, a better father to my children, a better son to my parents. Read this book. Let it help you feel. Enjoy.