I have never been a religious person. I feel I should get that in there immediately to ensure that my review of Five Questions of Christmas can be in no way biased either way. I am not an atheist, I don’t NOT believe but I don’t believe either. I was brought up as a Christian in the sense that I was christened and I went to a Church of England school. At school we were read too from the bible and sang hymns and religious songs in assembly. This book has in no way made me return to religion. I don’t think that however was its purpose anyway. What this book actually is cannot be said in a single statement. It is firstly a sort of self-help book inspired by religion and in particular the Christmas story.
The first chapter of Five Questions of Christmas looks at trust and how it is not in fact earned but given when you have faith in someone. Although many people break our trust we still have to take the risk and put trust in them. A part that particularly stayed with me was when the author described a baby and how all it knows how to do is cry and that in order to trust it learns who gives it love and affection and cares for it.
The second chapter looks at fear and suffering and uses the example of Mary’s suffering when she became pregnant before marriage in a time when it was punishable by death. It emphasises how suffering should be seen as something we need to go through in order to make life better.
There were for me parts that felt pushy and accusatory in terms of almost demanding a belief in God. An accusation that we don’t want God to control us because that would mean relinquishing control on our own lives. That’s not to say that I didn’t learn new and interesting things about parts of the bible and particularly the Christmas story that I thought I knew but didn’t.
The author of Five Questions of Christmas peppers the books with memories of Christmas’ from his own past, from time spent with all the family to time with his own son and some of his extended family and specific things going on that year. He even interestingly explores the strength of his own belief particularly after the death of a loved one.
Overall although this would not be the sort of book I would usually read I must admit I have quite enjoyed it. I enjoyed it’s philosophical approach and the way it promoted religion in a convincing and laid back manner without forcing it. The conversational style of the authors writing made it a much easier read than expected.
I would recommend reading this book if you are interested in religion, already involved in religion or just looking for answers on life’s questions.