Book Review: God With Us
Edited: by Greg Pennoyer & Gregory Wolfe
Publisher: Paraclete Press ISBN: 9781557255419
God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas
This is a fabulously beautiful book, both in content and in quality. Paraclete Press and editors, Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe have done a masterful job of retelling the Christmas Story through the seasons of Advent and Christmastide in this work. They have combined the gifts of art in poetry, paintings, Holy Scripture, liturgy, and prayer to produce a wonderful devotional for the Christmas season.
First, I’ll share a few words on the technical aspects of the book itself. The book is heirloom quality being very sturdy. It is hardbound with glossy, heavy gauge paper. The title of the book is gold embossed on the spine over a very durable feeling red cloth cover. Paraclete Press has also thoughtfully included a single ribbon marker for place keeping. The volume is somewhat large and non-standard in size at nine and a half inches by seven inches and just slightly over a half inch thick.
Second, I will highlight some of the content details. The book is arranged as a daily reader, following the track of Advent through the weeks leading up to Christmas and then proceeding through the season of Christmastide (The Twelve Days of Christmas) and ending on the Feast of Epiphany. Multiple fonts and font colors are used to bring the reader’s attention to various sections, sidebars, and highlighted areas of each devotional piece.
An incredibly gifted group of authors and spiritual writers has been invited to share in this collection of Advent devotions. Among the group are the following names: Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson, and Luci Shaw.
The illustrations included in God With Us are classic masterpieces, beautiful and timeless—some of the pieces shared are from Gauguin, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Redon, and Leonardo di Vinci. I loved the illustrations as focal points for my meditations.
If I were to offer any critique, it would be for the prayers included at the end of each devotional writing. Two things I found were a little troubling for me; one, was the reduction in font size (perhaps down to a 9pt. font). Second, was the font color change to light gold. While the color change was aesthetically pleasing, the reduction in font size and the light coloration made reading the prayer difficult. I found myself on more than a few occasions lifting and tilting the book toward the light, so I could find a better reading angle with hopes of seeing the words more boldly. Aside from this one little nit, I find no fault with the book. Everything about it from binding to content to presentation is exquisite. I believe it is a heirloom quality piece and will be proud to hand it down to my own children.