Learn Something New This Christmas
We hate to admit it, but after years, sometimes even decades, of reading the same Luke 2 story of Christmas, we get a little bored—we lose some of the awe we ought to have when discussing the greatest miracle in history. That’s why The Characters of Christmas was written, to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth, such as Zechariah and Elizabeth, the Shepherds, and Herod.
As you slow down, engage your imagination, and enter into the stories of these women and men, you’ll see the most important character—Jesus Christ—with new eyes. And with discussion questions and a Christmas song suggestion at the end of each chapter, it’s perfect for engaging your whole family.
Break free from the familiar, and discover something you never knew about the story you’ve always heard.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: Jesus, the Grandest Story of All 9
1 Joseph, the Unsung Hero of Christmas 15
2 A Christmas Miracle: Zechariah and Elizabeth 31
3 Mary, the Simple Girl at the Center of Everything 49
4 The Song of the Angels 67
5 Room for Jesus: The Innkeeper 81
6 The First to Know: Shepherds 91
7 Seeking and Finding: The Wise Men 105
8 Herod, the Monster of Christmas 119
9 The Oldest Bucket List: Simeon and Anna 135
10 The Surprising People in Jesus' Family 149
11 The Even More Surprising People in Jesus' Family 161
Afterword: Imagine Yourself… 169
About the Author 179
What People are Saying About This
Endorsements for The Characters of Christmas
We get to enjoy Christmas only once a year, so let’s enjoy it to the hilt! Daniel Darling will help you savor your Christmas more richly with The Characters of Christmas. What I love about this book is how Dan helps us get past the Christmas story stereotypes. Instead, he shows us "something wonderfully ordinary" about each person in the story—except for Jesus, the extraordinary Friend of ordinary sinners like us.
Ray OrtlundRenewal MinistriesNashville
An elegant, rich mixture of how almighty God used common people with uncommon faith to invade humanity and display His grandeur. The Characters of Christmas provides a fresh introduction to those who helped make Christmas famous. You’ll never think of Joseph, Mary, Herod ("The Monster of Christmas"), and the surprising members of Jesus’ family in the same way. Several of Dan’s chapters would make dinner table reading in the weeks leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ arrival.
Dennis RaineyCofounder, FamilyLife
This book offers fresh insights on a familiar story that will bring meaning to the season.
Nancy GuthrieAuthor and Bible teacher
One of the most wonderful qualities of Scripture is how utterly human its characters are. People with complex stories of deep sorrow and unquenchable hope are pursued and found by the God who made them, and restored by the Messiah who redeems them. Dan Darling does a wonderful service here to both the biblical text and the reader by mining the details and illuminating the significance of the key figures found in the story of the Savior’s birth. Read this one every year.
Russ RamseyPastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville TennesseeAuthor of The Advent of the Lamb of God
In The Characters of Christmas, Daniel Darling invites us to look fresh at the Nativity story through the stories of the ordinary characters who represent each of us so well. Pick up this book and put yourself in the shoes of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds, and others, and you’ll find your gaze redirected to the One who brings meaning to our Christmas: Jesus.
Asheritah CiuciuBestselling author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and founder of One Thing Alone Ministries
Often the personalities in Scripture we think we know the best are the ones we least understand, most especially the characters of the Christmas stories. Dan listens to their lives in a fresh way in the pages of this book and every Christmas from now on will be better for it.
Michael CardSongwriter, Bible teacher
Daniel Darling retells the familiar Christmas story with wonderful freshness and warmth, relating how the characters to whom we point are themselves pointing to Another. This is more than another sentimental reimagining of shepherds in bathrobes and angels with plastic wings; it is a celebration of the glory of God being poured out of earthen vessels that make His grace shine by the reality of how unlikely they are to be carriers of it.
Bryan ChapellPastor, Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA)