Light of the World: Daily Meditations for Advent
by John Timmerman '67, Calvin English professor, Liguori, Mo.: Liguori Publications, 2007, 128 pp., $10.95.

Light of the World: Daily Meditations for Advent is a collection of 40 devotionals for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. "The underlying emphasis of the book is to walk with the reader through the season and try to discover more about Jesus," author John Timmerman said of the book.

Each chapter of Light of the World includes a mediation, scripture and prayer. The book begins with a series of reflections on the people in Jesus' life, including Mary, John the Baptist, Simeon and Anna-but it soon ranges far and wide in concept and back and forth between Testaments.

Timmerman ruminates on King David and Esther and, in more than one chapter, the devil. He ponders the names of Jesus and the many qualities of light that reveal His nature. There are meditations on Jesus as the Storm Rider, the eagle's wings and the Bright and Morning Star and others that encourage the reader to draw near, stand firm and remain in the quiet center of God.

Writing a book like Light of the World requires a lot of Bible study, said Timmerman: "I love this kind of writing. I try to live in the word of God and make it alive for the reader."

The book also draws substantially on the author's personal experience. Light of the World is woven through with Timmerman's memories of enduring the wait until Christmas morning and driving to the family cabin in North Carolina. He even includes the story of a haunted house that reveals how the Timmerman family received their first Advent wreath.

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The author does not shy away from sharing even painful memories, like that of his niece's death or the remembered words of a troubled veteran that frame the introduction of the book-Timmerman's favorite piece of writing in Light of the World-"There ain't nothin' as over as Christmas." The book explains: "The fact is that the Advent does not mean much of anything unless there is a need for it. Either the hideous strength shadows both our world and personal lives and we desperately need the light of our Advent Savior, or all is well with the world and Satan is a myth-in which case, the Advent Savior is a cosmic hoax."

Indeed, integral to the Light of the World is the concept of the Advent as one part of the whole revelation of Christ. "I saw beyond the Advent," Timmerman said. "It steered me more clearly to purposes and ends. This book points toward the Second Coming."

Light of the World is a companion to Woman, Why Are You Weeping?: Daily Meditations for Lent. That book uses the same mediation form to reflect on the roles Jesus took in life and the pain he suffered, Timmerman said. "Jesus went through a period where He's abandoned by His father. So how do we connect with Jesus when we feel abandoned? The big question is, 'Do you feel abandoned by God, and how do you reconnect with God?"

Timmerman said he prefers writing that comprehends the nitty-gritty of the believer's life rather than writing that sounds a continuous note of triumph: "These books focus on trying to live the Christian life, and I emphasize the 'trying,'" he said. "That's quite frankly the best that we can do is to bumble around in this world, helping, with the prayer of others, to find our way."

Why I Still Believe the Gospel by Clarence Boomsma '40, ThB '43, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing, 2007, 106 pp., $12.

In this book, Clarence Boomsma, a longtime pastor in the Christian Reformed Church, reveals his own existential crisis of faith and then shares his heartfelt, hard-won conclusion: The reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is indeed the linchpin of the Christian faith. This work is the product of Boomsma's passionate quest to know and declare the truth and consequences of Jesus' Resurrection.

Nuclear Waste Stalemate: Political and Scientific Controversies by Robert '54 and Susanne E. Vandenbosch '54, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 2007, 464 pp., $25.

Many feel that a significant expansion of nuclear power will be necessary to meet future energy needs. However, no country has found a permanent solution for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. This book examines the complex political, legal and scientific issues relating to the disposal of that waste.

To be Honest With You by Vince Woltjer '91 and Tim Vandenberg, Colorado Springs, Colo.: Authentic, 2005, 220 pp., $12.99.

This book is a devotional journey through the book of Luke appealing to the postmodern generation. What started out as journal entries, these devotions offer insightful perspectives gained from personal experiences. Themes of doubt, forgiveness, gratitude, sin and hope emerge, and the assurance of God's sovereignty and depth of His grace become evident despite lack of certainty in one's belief.