Books are great Christmas gifts because when the right book is given at the right time, it can change a life.
Here are my book picks for this year. (In the interest of decorum, I won’t recommend my own books. Info about one is here.)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
When World War II began, Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete, became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. Now available in a young adult adaptation as well.
Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life
by Eric Metaxas
What are miracles, and why do so many people believe in them? What do they tell us about ourselves? And what do we do with experiences that we cannot explain? In Miracles, Eric Metaxas offers compelling — sometimes electrifying — evidence that there’s something real to be reckoned with, whatever one has thought of the topic before. Miracles is also a timely, thoughtful, and civil answer to the books of the “New Atheists” — Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris — who have passionately asserted not just the impossibility of miracles and the supernatural, but the outright harmfulness of belief in them.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxas
As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer-a pastor and author. In this New York Times best-selling biography, Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life-the theologian and the spy-and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil.
The Cross of Christ
by John Stott
The work of a lifetime, from one of the world’s most influential thinkers, about the heart of the Christian faith. “I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. . . . In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” With compelling honesty John Stott confronts this generation with the centrality of the cross in God’s redemption of the world — a world now haunted by the memories of Auschwitz, the pain of oppression and the specter of nuclear war. Can we see triumph in tragedy, victory in shame? Why should an object of Roman distaste and Jewish disgust be the emblem of our worship and the axiom of our faith? And what does it mean for us today?