Today’s post is sponsored by the Banner of Truth and reflects on a new collection of writings from J.C. Ryle, edited by Andrew Atherstone.
‘What does Christmas mean to you?’ This is a question you hear often during the months of November and December. For some it’s, ‘The best of times’, for others ‘the worst of times’ (to borrow from Charles Dickens). But consider this; many may hear and think of the name of Jesus than at any other time of the year. Christmas can still provide a timely opportunity for the church to share timeless truths to the world at large – as J.C. Ryle did to the people in his villages.
In his introduction to a new collection of writings, Christmas Thoughts, from J.C. Ryle, Andrew Atherstone writes:
‘John Ryle was a warm-hearted pastor and preacher in rural Suffolk, vicar of the little villages of Helmingham and Stradbroke. Often at Christmas and New Year, he wrote an exhortation to his parishioners in the form of a short tract, distributed from house to house. These tracts were hugely popular, eagerly read in towns and villages across England, each running into multiple editions in tens of thousands of copies. Christmas, and New Year, are excellent moments to pause and reflect—as scattered families regather for the national holiday, and as the calendar turns over again, with another year gone forever. Ryle urges us—in the midst of our feasting and festivities and family reunions—to make time to consider our spiritual state and our relationship with God. How is it with our souls? What do we make of Jesus Christ? What will be our future, when all our Christmases are passed?
This little book contains five of Ryle’s most popular Christmas tracts, originally published during the 1850s and 1860s. They have not been issued in this Christmas form since they were first printed more than a century and a half ago. Ryle writes in classic Victorian style, but with a freshness and crispness and direct appeal to readers in every generation. The spiritual wisdom of these Christmas Thoughts is timeless. Ryle challenges us—while we enjoy the wonderful delights of mince pies and mistletoe and mulled wine and music and merriment—to make the most of every Christmas, to consider seriously the person of Jesus Christ and questions of eternal significance.’
Don’t miss this excellent evangelistic resource, especially during a season where the world already has an ear slightly turned to the truth. Order a copy for yourself and one for a friend this Christmas.