My 2016 Reading List

My goal was to read two books a month, and I surpassed that. I started slowly by only reading one book in January and February (but it was a big one). July was another slow month with just one book read (but another tough read). Every other month I managed at least two books (August), and most months three (March, April, May, June, September, October, and November). And I was able to finish off the year strong by reading four books in December.
There were a few trends I notice looking back over the list. Most of my reading was non-fiction and will probably continue to be. I’m just not as interested in fiction as I used to be, though I am planning to read through quite a few classics over the next several years as I homeschool my son. I finished my first big classic this year, The Karamazov Brothers, and really enjoyed the experience. I think I may tackle Tolstoy this upcoming year. I also plan on reading a lot more C.S. Lewis and Tolkein this year.
I found I gravitate toward thrillers when I need something light to read. Jack Reacher novels seem to be a favorite. As I have most of them on Kindle, this will probably continue.  I also read several books by Douglas Wilson and found I have an affinity for his work. He has a few other titles I’m interested in so this may continue into the new year.
I only read two books about homeschool, which is very low for me over the past several years, and I broke my streak of annual readings of Norms & Nobility. I don’t know how much the former will change in the coming year as I don’t really have any new books of interest on the topic on my radar, but I intend to rectify the latter. Perhaps I will read over Teaching the Trivium again. Aside from Norms & Nobility, it is probably my favorite book on homeschooling.
I wound up with thirty books total for the year, which I am very happy with considering my goal was twenty-four. Seeing as I was able to read three books most months, I think I’m going to make that my goal for next year. Thirty-six seems like a good number to shoot for. Anyway, here is my list from 2016:
Awe – Jan
The Green Ember – March
Heroes Proved – March
Hannah Coulter – April
God & Politics – April
James – May
Die Trying – June
Teaching the Trivium – September
Chosen by God – September
Fidelity – September
Chosen but Free – October
Tripwire – October
The Visitor – October
Stonewall Jackson – November
Rebel Yell – November
God Rest Ye Merry – November
Married for God – December
Then Tweets My Soul – December
A Christmas Carol – December
The Great Divorce – December

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found

History as Wedding Prep

Christmas is not just a religious festival that we Christians observe. In all that we do in the presence of non-believers, we are making cosmic claims, and we believe them to be true. Put another way, the celebration of Christmas presents a challenge to all the historians and thinkers who want to reckon without Christ, who want to interpret what is going on around them without reference to Him.

But the Bible teaches us the meaning of history. What is it all about? In what context should we seek to understand the Crusades, the Age of Exploration, the Reformation, the Colonial Period, the Industrial Revolution, the War Between the States, and the first moon landing? What is the basic context of all of this? What are we doing here?

The history of the world cannot be understood apart from the history of the kingdom of God. History must be organized with reference to the Church, the center of the kingdom of God. And what is the kingdom of God like? We have it on reliable authority that the kingdom of God is like a certain king who arranged a wedding for his son (Mt 22:2). There it is. The history of the world, and of our nation, is like wedding preparations.

Sometimes chaotic, sometimes disorganized, but with joy driving it all, the wedding day approaches.

At first, we know nothing of it, but then the invitations go out. The Lord Jesus is born of a Virgin and arrives among us. He proclaims the truth and a handful starts to get ready. He pays the dowry in His own blood, and more begin preparing themselves. The Spirit is poured out, and we realize that the banquet is intended to include all men. The preparations will be far more extensive than we first thought, and so we get to it.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the preparations that we forget the wedding, and we lose our place. In such times, it is good to get out the invitation and look at it again. That is what we are doing every Christmas. Unto us a Son is given.

*Our Father and most gracious God, we are grateful that You have invited us to this wedding. We pray that we would labor faithfully in preparing for the celebration and that when we arrive at that day, we will be dressed in the kind of wedding garment that only You can give. We are grateful for the perfect and sinless life that Jesus lived, and for how that life began at Christmas, and how it was all lived for us, and on our behalf. We are so grateful, and we pray to You now in the name of Jesus, and amen.*

– Douglas Wilson

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

Yes, Mary knew.