Book Review - The Mystery of Bethlehem
Reformed Free Publishing Association
The following review was written by Joshua Vink on the book The Mystery of Bethlehem by Herman Hoeksema (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing, 1986). This review was originally published in the December 2023 issue of The Grandville Gleaner.
The Mystery of Bethlehem contains twenty chapters of devotional reading for the Christmas season. It is comprised of meditations written by Herman Hoeksema. Most of these meditations were taken from the December issues of the Standard Bearer over the twenty-plus year period that Herman Hoeksema contributed to it.
A multitude of books, articles, and sermons have been written on the topic, but the story of Christmas can never be exhausted. Where would we be without the birth of our Lord and Savior? Herman Hoeksema writes in the hope of kindling anew that interest in the heart of the reader.
Even though each chapter was written separately, Hoeksema's meditations are put into chronological order, and they flow together well for being a collection of individual writings. He starts with Christ as the Prince of Peace and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy, then baby Jesus lying in a manger—the only place that would take him—to the joy of Christmas with the angel appearing before the shepherds.
No room in the inn, then to the manger, with the animals, in swaddling clothes. Lowly, humble, poor. Prince of Peace, Only Begotten, Captain of our Salvation. Joy, Wonder, Praise, Exaltation. Herman Hoeksema meditates on each aspect of the Christmas story from the lowly birth to the singing of the angels with the main theme being joy, absolute joy. The shepherds' joy, Anna's joy, and our joy. Christ the Savior is born!