From the Directors: 14 Books You Should Read This Christmas

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For many of us, the holiday break means one thing… Free time to sit down with a good book (a book we get to choose to read), a cup of coffee, some soft background Christmas music, preferably by a fire and Christmas cookies in hand. Maybe that’s asking for a bit much, but the sentiment remains. Christmas break means we finally have a little bit of free time to slow down and read what we want to read. 

With that in mind, we thought we would gift you all with a robust holiday reading list. Below are some recommendations from your directors at the CGCS. Some are Advent related with Christmas in mind, some are just for fun, and others are missions-focused, staying true to our Great Commission roots. Whatever you might be looking for, we hope you find something in this list worth checking out.

Recommendations by
Greg Mathias

Hearers & Doers: A Pastor’s Guide To Making Disciples Through Scripture And Doctrine by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

A rich book that demonstrates how to awaken discipleship in the church through rich teaching of the Scripture. In typical Vanhoozer style, it is packed with insight and challenges that will cause you to stop and meditate often.

The Lord And His Prayer by N.T. Wright

I’ve found this little book a surprisingly good compliment to the Advent season. It is helpful, practical, and thought provoking. It could easily be used as a family to teach the Lord’s Prayer while focusing on Advent.

Spiritual Warfare in the Storyline of Scripture: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach by Bill Cook and Chuck Lawless 

A refreshing book that walks you through the entirety of the Scriptures showing the reality of spiritual warfare. As I’ve been working through this book I have been encouraged and it’s given me a new appreciation for our hope in Christ.

Pilgrims and Priests: Christian Mission in a Post-Christian Society by Stephen Paas 

A new book that I’m anxiously looking forward to getting into over the holidays. For a paperback, it is a bit pricey, but looks fascinating.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

A fun read I try and re-read almost every Christmas. They’ve done a movie version of this, “Christmas with the Kranks,” if watching is more appealing than reading.


Recommendations by Scott Hildreth

The Unsaved Christian by Dean Inserra 

During the holidays most of us will spend time with family members and friends who a Christian in name only. This book gives some good handles and encouragement for sharing Jesus with them.

You Found Me by Rick Richardson 

Most of the news we hear about the upcoming generation is that they are hard and uninterested in the Gospel. This book shatters that myth. It shows us that those will talk to over the holidays may be more open, and more ready, than you imagine.

Recommendations by
Keelan Cook

Redemption: Accomplished and Applied by John Murray

This is an oldie but a goodie! Been reviewing it the past few months, and it’s been a fruitful reminder of how the gospel works through the person of Christ and his historical work on the cross. The language is a little dated, but it’s a great book to grasp the significance of sanctification in the life of the believer and the importance of the incarnation.

Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp

If you’re looking for an advent devotional for you or the family, this is a solid choice. Tripp provides a month-long devotional that can be used both by an individual reader and as a family devotional for the advent season. I appreciate the thought put into this work for using it with the family.

Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller

Keller is always a good read, and this one is no exception. In this book, Keller takes the reader through the background of the Christmas story and provides a clear telling of Christmas’s most important purpose and meaning. 


Recommendations by Matt Rogers

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

This is another in a line of engaging works by Gladwell that provides helpful reflections on interpersonal relationships and social dynamics (concepts that are needed for many ministry leaders)

Isaiah: God Saves Sinners by Raymond Ortland

Ortland’s profound influence on pastoral ministry fills this commentary with pastoral reflections on a book of the Bible ripe with Christmas implications

The Best Gift Ever Given by Ronnie Martin

For fans of the Happy Rant, Ronnie’s name may be familiar. This 25-day Advent guide for families is filled with rich, theological truth combined with beautiful illustrations to help your family reflect on the wonder of God with us.

Evangelism in a Skeptical World by Sam Chan

Chan tackles the concept of evangelism by uncover the truth presuppositions that all people embrace and demonstrates how a Christian can winsomely and effectively share the gospel with their lost neighbors, co-workers, and friends. 

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