I really wanted to love this book. I wanted it to 'wow' me, to teach me something I didn't already know. But it didn't, and I was disappointed. I still love the cover and the theme, but the wow factor was not there.
And I think I know why.
The intended use for Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is as a daily devotional for the four weeks of advent celebrated in a family group, with Bible readings and discussion and activities. Each day presents a challenge, prayer and Bible passages for further study.
The book covers a different theme every week in addition to five names of Jesus. It provides a repetitive pattern for worship rather than presenting the person of Christ. Perhaps I was looking for something other than what is offered. It is full of information and suggestions unrelated to the names of Jesus. I didn't get the connection.
I would love to use the book with a group of young children and see where it takes them. I would love to study the names of Jesus in more depth. I would love to be more familiar with the names and what they say about His person. These are the desires I had before reading the book.
Next year I would like to take one name per week, rather than a different one every day. Maybe use the four weeks over a four year period and go deeper.
The author asked on social media what our favorite name of Jesus is? Mine is Immanuel, God with us. When I truly consider that God's Son left His Father in heaven to dwell among us, I lose sight of the holiday we celebrate in December because so much of what we do has nothing to do with Immanuel.
The more I ponder who Jesus was in the flesh, and the lack of response in most of mankind, the less need I see for the celebration of advent. The focus shifts to His death and resurrection, and the coming events when He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.
I recommend this book to all readers interested in going deeper during the season celebrating Christ's birth. My intent is not to discourage you from using this book, but in providing further food for thought in its use.
My Rating: 3 stars
I received my copy of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus from Moody Press in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I also wish to note that my theology is in line with the author's, if Cedarville and Clarks Summit still agree on the authority of the Bible.
For more reviews, check out the author's post as well as Goodreads' reviews of the book. This review is also posted on the Moody Press website and on Christianbook.com.