Book Review: Advent

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Hearing the Good News in the Story of Jesus’ Birth
Nathan Brown

Advent begins where it ends—with the hope in the advent of Christ, both the former 2000 years ago, and the imminent second. It’s an interesting, informative and in-depth account of the first and an encouraging affirmation of the second, which is of course embodied in the very name of our faith, and which gives it relevance for both today and tomorrow. It attempts to answer the very basic questions: What happened at Christmas? And why is this important?

It is also interestingly constructed, which adds to its readability, with a new and well-researched topic for each new day of the Festive Season. “The 12 Days of Christmas”, that annoying repetitive “carol” by composer Richard Austin, is constructed, as it name suggests, on the 12 days that in Christian tradition marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi (not those anticipating it, as most would assume). Nathan Brown’s Advent has a few more verses, constructed around the weeks that precede Christmas, collectively known as “Advent”, and thus the title, with a short four-page reading for each of the 31 days of December, climaxing on December 25, before pivoting to the larger story of Jesus and hope of the Second Coming.

Each of its 31 Advent-related topics, which include the cast (main and supporting), the setting, the literal and metaphysical conflicts surrounding it, its themes and theology is included. The chapter titles spell out what those bite-sized delights are: the familiar Christmas themes of “Peace”, “Love” and “Lowly”; the “(Good) News” and “Glory”, climaxing on Day 25 with “Joy”, but ending with “Hope”. Each is gently teased out, illustrated and supported, taking in the long historical arcs of the Old and New Testament timelines, from prophecy to present, along the way dispelling the myths, discarding the fake and the fables of the Nativity, and substituting the Real Jesus.

Advent will make great Christmas reading for you or your family, but is also eminently shareable to a world ignorant of that Real Jesus, the very reasons for the Advent—both first and second.

Advent: Hearing the Good News in the Story of Jesus’ Birth is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or visit to discover more.

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