This is a beautiful hardcover book and makes a wonderful addition to the Christmas season. In the foreword of the book, Gregory Athnos states: "More than an accumulation of carols, it is history, reclaiming expressions of joy and delight from the earliest carols through the centuries to our own day. It is personal, recounting the stories, the people, and the inspirations behind the music." Which is exactly what this book delivers.
This book is broken down into three sections. The first section is about "hymns of advent." The second section is about the "hymns of the nativity." And the third section is about the "hymns of epiphany." There are forty-three songs in this book written by forty-three authors who "share their spiritual view of Christmas-simple, brief, but powerful words about a birth and the surrounding circumstances."
I never really thought about the Christmas season being broken down into advent, nativity and epiphany. You hear about it, of course, but I never really thought through what it means. This book gives brief, but easy to understand thoughts about these three divisions. Once I read this book I decided that we would read this book together, as a family, using this book as a devotional for the Christmas season. It is dated, so the book can easily be used in this way. It starts with November 25th and goes through January 6th. The Scripture that goes with each day is conveniently located in the back of the book, under a section called "Christmas in the Bible."
While many of the hymns are familiar, there were quite a few that we had never heard before. Apparently you can purchase a recording with all the songs listed in the book from Spotify or iTunes, but I did not know this when I got the book. Even without the music it is a great book on it's own. Some songs can be found on YouTube.
In this book you not only learn about the history behind the music, you also learn a little bit about the author and the composer. I know there are a lot of advent books out there, but I feel that this one is quite different from the others, and as previously stated, believe it would be a wonderful addition to the Christmas season. This is a unique book and one that I highly recommend.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.