Welcome to the Second Annual Exponent Book Review Series and Cyber Monday Giveaway! For the next few days, and ending on Cyber Monday, we will be having book reviews in between regular posts. Everyone who comments on a post will be entered into the draw to win a copy of one of the books that we have reviewed! That’s all! Just a comment and you’re entered.**
In addition to each of the books being reviewed offered as a prize, we are also offering a one-year digital subscription to the Exponent magazine as one of the prizes (guaranteed to please!). Please feel free to send comment love to all of the posts to increase your chances of winning one of these great books or a subscription to the Exponentii!
On to the first review for 2016:
The Prince of Peace is a book released specifically for the Christmas market. It is written by Russell M. Nelson, who is the current president of the Quorum of Twelve apostles. Nelson has been a general authority since 1984, and the work is well endowed with scripture references. I found this to be a benefit simply because of the scriptural focus on the Christ, rather than an individual’s sentimental jumble of ideas.
This release is new this year, and it is short—indeed, it is a booklet. It is the length of perhaps the average General Conference talk and can easily be ready in 15 minutes or less. The language is simple and easy to read, making it a good choice for families as well as individuals. Both Deseret Book and Amazon suggest it as a gift. In reading this, I was prepared for the typical Christmas message—something to make me feel sentimental, something to inspire me to serve and give, and a reminder to be grateful, all mixed with a good dose of the-miracle-of-every-birth on top. Gratefully, this booklet was not typical in these ways.
It did read like a General Conference talk; insomuch that I wondered if this was a draft for the anticipated First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2016. And though it had reminders of Christ’s power and love that can bring us to the Father…. The book yet remained Motherless. As a woman who is unable to have children, I was grateful for the “Maternal Mary” deficiency, but I mourned the absence of Heavenly Mother. It would have been so easy to embrace Her in the inclusive “Heavenly Parents” phrase, yet She was absent.
HOWEVER. I did enjoy this booklet. The Prince of Peace is exactly what it’s title says it is: an essay focused on Christ. Nelson speaks broadly of pain, of those serving in the armed forces, of those who have been mistreated, of those who have sinned, and those who have lost loved ones. In each of these scenarios, he brings in the love and power of Christ, The reader is invited to feel peace- not in a sentimental seasonal sense, but as an all-encompassing force of love and Atonement. Quite frankly, the booklet feels yet not Christmas-y, but rather full of Christ. It is well worth a read.
Gratefully, when sin is mentioned, I did not feel like this essay focused on the darkness of sin, but rather on the freshness brought by true repentance. For example, he wrote:
“Think of the change in John Newton, born in London 1725. He repented of his sinful life as a slave-trader to become an Anglican clergyman. With that mighty change of heart, John wrote the words to the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” (p12)
The words of this hymn are included—which brought a tear to my eye, especially in light of the darkness that seems enveloping the world right now.
I think that the suggestions to give this as a gift are slightly impersonal, but rather prefer the idea of sharing this as a family home evening discussion, or even have it as a reading before or after going Christmas-carolling, to better share the light of Christ as it is intended.
Comments refer to those made on the 2016 Cyber Monday Book Review Series posts only. Only one entry per post, though you are welcome and encouraged to make more than one comment. The comments must be made on the Exponent blog (Facebook comments gain no entries). Commenting on more than one post results in one entry per post: 7 max entries more entries. Hard copies of the books will be sent to North American addresses, and e-copies will be sent to the winners who reside outside of North America. comments made on posts between November 21 and November 29, midnight, US-MST will be entered.