My Favorite Christmas Gifts from 2012

My Favorite Christmas Gifts from 2012

The past couple of weeks have been a great blessing to me, especially with a few of the wonderfully awesome Christmas gifts I received. These gifts will be giving throughout the year and then for years to come, I am sure. Wait. Let me clarify and qualify those last statements. My favorite gift, hands down, is my ability (God provided) to be in relationship with the Triune God through Jesus Christ. Coming in next, are my wife and my sons…followed closely by my health. Now, we can proceed to the more trivial and material things *wink*

In no particular order, my favorite material things I received this year follow:


The Tyndale Chronological Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation


The only thing this Bible is missing is a longer name…wait, it has that too. Seriously though, this is a wonderful Bible and I really like several things in this version. First, I really like the New Living Translation for reading. In my opinion, the NLT is the best reading version on today’s market. Second, I prefer reading chronologically over any other reading plan when I’m reading for story purposes; that is, trying to stay connected to the meta-narrative of Scripture. In addition to these reasons, the Life Application Bible helps to keep me connected to the Scripture and stirs me to respond to the words I am reading. Many other features in this study Bible make it one of my new favorites. I love the timeline system that flows through every page, which helps me to correlate the flow of God’s revelation to man through the Hebrew people as it laid over the global timeline of man. There are also hundreds of notes, maps, section introductions, sidebars, charts, and outlines. My tentative goal is to read this Bible through 2013 along with another Bible I received for Christmas.


The NRSV Daily Bible


This is another gift I received for Christmas; The New Revised Standard Version Bible is a Daily Reading Bible is set up for 365 daily readings. Each of the readings is accompanied by an excerpted writing from a Christian spiritual classic. Some of the classic writings include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Frederick Buechner, Henri Nouwen and others. This Bible is geared toward the promotion of contemplative reading and prayerful meditation upon the text. I plan to use this alongside the Tyndale Chronological Bible, but instead of reading for story I will be using this Bible for my divine reading (Lectio Divina). I have grown to love the NRSV Bible for the combined attributes of accuracy and readability and look forward to the coming year that I will spend with God in this Bible.


Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar


I saw this calendar advertised at some point in my web browsing back in October or November of 2012. When I saw it, I immediately forwarded the link to my wife, Laurie, with a note stating “this would make a nice Christmas gift—hint, hint.” I was pleasantly surprised to find it wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning. This isn’t a “normal” calendar structured around the months (Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.). It is arranged around the Christian calendar. For instance, the first page of weeks is the Advent season, which was Dec. 2 through Dec. 24. When the page is turned to the next “month,” it is actually the season of Christmas, twelve days from Dec. 25 through Jan. 5th. The next page of weeks is the season of Epiphany, which begins January 6 and runs through February 12 (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and Lent). There are sidebars with information and devotional material relevant to the season of the calendar, and there are Scripture readings for each Sunday that come from the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer. The most important aspect of this calendar that I like though, is the connection of God’s story in our time. I’ve made it no secret over the past several years how much the Liturgical Calendar has impacted my spiritual formation. This is another helpful tool to keep me remain connected to God’s time throughout the year. It’s not too late to pick up your own!

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