Walking Backwards to Christmas gives you a new and grown-up perspective on the Nativity story you first encountered in school and church Nativity plays. Stephen Cottrell gets you back into the real meaning of the childhood story simply by telling it backwards; from where you are now, to where you need to be to really understand its truth and deeper purpose.
It’s like hearing the Christmas events for the first time. Using the brilliant, deceptively simple device of telling story backwards, Stephen Cottrell helps us encounter it as never before. Writer of ‘Hit the Ground Kneeling’ and the Advent devotional ‘The Nail’, the Bishop of Chelmsford narrates the Nativity story from the perspective of key characters giving us insights into the story’s many horrors and uncertainties as well as its joys.
Walking Backwards to Christmas clearly steals its headline grabbing title from the famous Goon Show nonsense song. But this is no mere publicity stunt, nor is it nonsense. There is a great deal of good sense and reason behind choosing this title.
This book offers a fresh and unique Advent study course – which can even be used as a sound basis for an adult Nativity play. As you’d expect in an adult approach to the Christmas story, there’s a more balanced approach to the narrative; taking its elements of doubt and darkness as seriously as its themes of wonder and light.
The backwards approach gives you an understanding of the complex narrative, and of the complex motivations of the key paricipants in the story. These include the Old Testament characters; Moses, Isaiah, Anna, the prophetess and Rachel, who wept for her children. And not forgetting the main-stage players; King Herod, the wise men, the shepherds, the innkeeper's wife and Jesus’ immediate and extended family.
Each imaginative and solidly biblical reflection is prefaced by the relevant Bible reading and followed by a thoughtfully crafted, devotional prayer. If you want an Advent and Christmas devotional that will help to change and mature your understanding of the Nativity story, then Walking Backwards to Christmas is probably the way.