Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: The Most Wonderful Time of Year

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
By Ace Collins
Abingdon Press, 2016


Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year's Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

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My thoughts

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins is just that – most wonderful! This collection of 31 readings for the month of December consists of meditative thoughts, hymn stories, and a recipe or craft. On the surface, it is this varied grouping of seasonal readings that seems to make it attractive, but readers will discover a hidden depth beginning in the very first chapter.

Many excellent devotionals have been written, collections of hymn stories are available (some written by Ace Collins, in fact), and all types of recipe or handcraft books abound … So what makes The Most Wonderful Time of the Year special? I think it’s because, while this warm and cozy collection entertains, it offers quiet, reflective moments in the midst of an often-frustrating busy season – and we’re subtly challenged to shift our focus to others, being sensitive and responsive to the needs of those around us.

In the first day’s reading, everything is put into perspective as we’re asked to visualize the unthinkable, a world in which Christ had not been born. It was interesting to learn the meanings behind many of our Christmas traditions – that the evergreen tree represents eternal life, red decorations are symbolic of Christ’s shed blood, etc. In another chapter, Ace draws application from the wise men’s gifts, and I loved the suggestion to pray over our gift-giving list before beginning to shop.

Music is an integral part of Christmas, something that everyone can relate to, and this is one of the book’s strengths. Ace mentions some popular entertainers who were a vivid part of my growing up years – such as Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Bob Hope, Irving Berlin – causing many treasured family memories to surface. But most touching of all is the meditation on how George Frideric Handel came to write Messiah and the corresponding lesson of encouragement.

The hymn story of O Come, All Ye Faithful gives lyrics that include a verse I had never heard of, and I’d like to end with their beautiful thought . . .

Child, for us sinners
Poor and in the manger,
We would embrace thee
With love and awe.
Who would not love thee,
Loving us so dearly?
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is an excellent devotional collection that can be used personally and would also be a most meaningful gift. Highly recommended.


Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.

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I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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