November 10, 2007 | Myrna Anderson

A Calvin professor of English has authored a book of meditations for the Advent season.

A Calvin professor of English has authored a book of meditations for the Advent season.

Light of the World: Daily Meditations for Advent (Liguori Publications) is a collection of 40 devotionals for the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

Ruminating on the Season

“The underlying emphasis of the book is to walk with the reader through the season and try to discover more about Jesus,” said author John Timmerman of the book.

Each chapter of Light of the World includes a meditation, 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," he said. "I try to live in the word of God and make it alive for the reader.”

Light in the darkness

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.

The author does not shy away from sharing even painful memories, like that of his niece’s death.

As Timmerman writes: “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 desparately 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, said Timmerman.

“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 re-connect 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, hoping, with the prayer of others, to find our way.”

Recent stories