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.
Learn Something New This Christmas
We hate to admit it, but after reading the same Luke 2 story of Christmas for years—or even decades— we get a little bored. We lose some of the awe we ought to have when contemplating 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.
You’ll read about:
And as you slow down, engage your imagination, and enter into the stories of these men and women, 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 untold treasures in the story you thought you knew.
“We often think God works through extreme giftedness or among those who are wealthy and well connected. But the Christmas story reminds us that God moves in and among those whom society most often leaves behind, that the thread of redemption woven throughout Scripture winds its way through a lot of small towns and seemingly little lives.” (source)
“Sometimes God has to quiet us so we can hear Him. Sometimes we have to be still so we can see Him move. Sometimes our words and our busyness get in the way of our faith. They form a cynical shell around our hearts.” (source)
“Mary’s question is the question of the ages. Abraham wondered how God could possibly make him the father of many nations. David wondered how God could continue his throne forever. And the prophets, while delivering words from the Lord, likely wondered how the coming king could be both a suffering servant and a conquering king, both human and divine.” (source)
“Mary knew—and we know too—that favor by God is not earned nor is it deserved. Just as Mary was visited by God, so too we who call ourselves Christians have been miraculously visited by God. We don’t deserve God’s favor, and yet like Mary, because of the life of that baby, we can be called friends of God.” (source)
“Joseph would not only lose his reputation, he would lose his comfort and safety” (source)
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.
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.
This book offers fresh insights on a familiar story that will bring meaning to the season.
Author 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.
Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville Tennessee
Author 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.
Bestselling 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.
Songwriter, 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.
Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA)
DANIEL DARLING is an author, pastor, and leader. He was recently appointed as the director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dan is a bestselling author of several books, including The Original Jesus, The Dignity Revolution, The Characters of Christmas, The Characters of Easter, and A Way With Words. He is the general editor, along with Trillia Newbell, of a small group study on racial reconciliation, The Church and the Racial Divide and is a contributor to The Worldview Study Bible.
Dan is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications. He is a columnist for World Magazine, and a regular contributor to USA Today. His work is often featured in Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition and his op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post, CNN, Washington Times, Time, Huffington Post, National Review, First Things, and other leading outlets. Publisher's Weekly called his writing style "substantive and punchy."
Dan speaks and preaches around the country and is regularly interviewed on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNN, and Fox. He is the host of a popular weekly podcast The Way Home where he interviews Christian leaders, politicians, and journalists. He holds a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College, has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served churches in Illinois and Tennessee. He and his wife Angela have four children.