In this gentle and humorous anthology of poems, stories, commentary and reflections, Adrian Plass invites us to celebrate Christmas in its many facets. And Jesus Will Be Born is a holiday cornucopia filled with the laughter, tears, family foibles, simple joys and the rich blessings of the season. There’s no predicting what the turn of a page will bring in this Christmas collection by Adrian Plass. It may be a bit of verse to moisten the eyes ... When I’m in heaven Tell me there’ll be Christmases without the pain No memories that will not fade No chilled and sullen sense of loss That cannot face the festive flame Nor breathe excitement from the ice-cream air Tell me how the things that Christmas should have been Will be there for eternity in one long shining dawn For all of us to share I love the promises of Christmas. Then again, there is this – an ‘advertisement’ from Plass’s spoof of a church newsletter: ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news? The answer is – not very, if they haven’t had those ugly corns treated. Christian chiropodist. Special Yuletide reductions ...’ Setting the poignant, the madcap, the joyous and the tender in artful counterpoint, this is a book to be savored over the entire holiday season. It offers something for everyone in every setting – family readings, personal libraries and even church pulpits. And Jesus Will Be Born speaks to the full spectrum of our humanity, celebrating the golden Christmas traditions, poking playfully at our seasonal foibles, observing our less-than-noble attitudes with an eye that is at once honest and gracious – and always looking towards the Person around whom all that is truly Christmas revolves. In the midst of our festivities, Adrian Plass gently reminds us why we need a Savior. And he points us towards the unfathomable possibilities that have been opened to us, and the joy and hope that are ours, because Jesus was born long ago in Bethlehem and is born today in us.
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Adrian Plass is one of today's most significant and successful Christian authors, and he has written over thirty books, including his latest, Looking Good Being Bad - the Subtle Art of Churchmanship. Known for his ability to evoke both tears and laughter for a purpose, Plass has been reaching the hearts of thousands for over fifteen years. He lives in Sussex, England with his wife, Bridget, and continues to be a cricket fanaticExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Introduction: Desirable Nonsense This mixture of fact and fiction, poetry and prose, reflection and recollection, all on the subject of Christmas, is for you, whoever you are. I do hope you enjoy it. Having said that I have to confess that this particular yearly celebration brings its own problems as far as I am concerned. The question is, do I actually enjoy Christmas? Well, part of me dreads it -- mainly, I suppose, because many of my childhood Christmases were so packed with family conflict that I never quite dared to relax. I loved the stockings and the presents and the decorations and the special food when I was little, but as the years went by I developed a habit of fearing failure on the very day that is supposed to be such a happy one. Trivial arguments over who was going to have which bit of the turkey would turn into crashing, shouting, ragged chaos, followed by sulking on the part of those who favored that particular strategy, moaning resentment from those who hadn't got what they wanted, and infuriating chewing noises from those who had. Something always seemed to go wrong. That dark shadow of dread anticipation still creeps over me each year -- I think it always will to an extent -- but three things have brought a lot of happiness back into Christmas for me. The first is my own children. There are four of them now, their ages ranging from twenty-eight to fifteen, and I shall never forget how Christmas suddenly came alive again for me when Matthew, the oldest, was a small child. Through his eyes I saw the way in which the season shone, and I felt an echo of his excitement in my own heart for the first time in many years. Sometimes I think the only reason that we went on having children was to ensure that there would always be a small one available to enhance Christmas for us! The second aid to my rediscovery of Christmas is the fact that December the twenty-fifth is the birthday of someone very special -- my wife. You thought I was going to say Jesus, didn't you? Yes you did! When Bridget was a girl her parents appointed a day in June to be her official birthday -- rather like the queen of England. Nowadays, though, she receives birthday cards, birthday presents, Christmas cards, and Christmas presents all on the same day. Bridget likes Christmas, and she's very good at it, if you know what I mean. Yes, all right -- the third thing is that it's Jesus' birthday as well. And why not? He gave me the children that have brought Christmas alive again for me, and he gave me the wife who has been my closest friend for more than thirty years. I'm sure he hates the shadows that defeat so many of us, and I know he joins us in the life-long battle to let the light in so that they can be dispelled. Our family and the family of the church will be together for ever because of him, even if we die. A nonsense to those of you who do not follow Jesus? Perhaps -- but highly desirable nonsense, don't you think? Happy birthday, Jesus -- and thank you. Happy birthday and Christmas, Bridget. Happy Christmas to all who read these words. Part One The Promise of Christmas I suspect that those of you who do not find this time of year easy will appreciate the poem that follows. Promises are not always kept on this side of the grave. That is the way life is. God will always keep his promises, though, and when we do finally reach heaven, we will be amazed to find that the essence of all the innocent things that we loved most in this world are there. How could that not be so? He made them. Christmas in Heaven When I'm in heaven Tell me there'll be kites to fly, The kind they say you can control Although I never did for long, The kind that spin and spin and spin and spin Then sulk and dive and die, And rise again and spin again, And dive and die and rise up yet again, I love those kites. When I'm in heaven Tell me there'll be friends to meet, In ancient oak-beamed Sussex pubs Enfolded by the wanton Downs, And summer evenings lapping lazily against the shore Of sweet familiar little lands Inhabited by silence or by nonsenses, The things you cannot safely say in any other place, I love those times. When I'm in heaven Tell me there'll be seasons when the colours fly, Poppies splashing flame Through dying yellow, living green, And autumn's burning sadness that has always made me cry For things that have to end. For winter fires that blaze like captive suns But look so cold when morning comes. I love the way the seasons change. When I'm in heaven Tell me there'll be peace at last, That in some meadow filled with sunshine Filled with buttercups and filled with friends You'll chew a straw and fill us in on how things really are, And if there is some harm in laying earthly hope at heaven's door, Or in this saying so, Have mercy on my foolishness, dear Lord, I love this world you made -- it's all I know. When I'm in heaven Tell me there'll be Christmases without the pain No memories that will not fade No chilled and sullen sense of loss That cannot face the festive flame Nor breathe excitement from the ice-cream air Tell me how the things that Christmas should have been Will be there for eternity in one long shining dawn For all of us to share I love the promises of Christmas. Part Two Plass Family Christmas Since Bridget and I married in 1970 we have celebrated Christmas together on thirty-two occasions. Since 1974 our children have been added one by one to the mix. It has been good and not so good and just about everything in between. Here are some true accounts of Christmas events and experiences in the world of the Plasses.
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