Reviewed by Lisa J. Lickel
12 Words of Christmas by Louie Giglio
"I found this presentation moving and quite powerful."
The Twelve Words of Christmas is part of the Passion Talk Series from the Atlanta-based ministry of Passion Church. Louie Giglio takes the show on the road with Christian musician Chris Tomlin, one of my personal favorite artists, and others. I hadn't heard Giglio speak before.
The Twelve Words of Christmas talk was taped at a talk in 2009 in Miami and opens with Giglio's part of the night, following an apparent concert which is not included. Giglio, carrying a wrapped box with a bow, spends the first twelve minutes on stage rambling about his past tours and hyping the audience. He chooses an eleven-year-old non-plussed gum-chewing girl from the audience to come on stage and open the gift. They eventually get to the actual contents of the box, which turn out to be gifts for her and her family to enjoy, and stage passes to meet Chris Tomlin. After dismissing the girl, Giglio reaches into the box and announces there was still one more gift at the bottom. His Bible. He reads the second chapter of Luke, occasionally embellishing the text with contemporary examples meant to bring the story into connotations understood by today's society. For example, When is Christmas? he asks. It's tax day! The craziest, busiest, most insane day of the year. The young engaged couple, Mary and Joseph, arrive after a long donkey-ride, under a cloud of scandal because she's very pregnant and they're not married. Nothing is perfect about this day, except the baby.
Giglio explains that God has been silent for the past four hundred years; no message from prophets, no speeches from the temple, just silence. Is he really, really mad, or did he run out of things to say? The silence at last is broken by a baby's cry.
About thirty-five minutes into the program Giglio reveals the twelve words of Christmas in the message of the angels to the shepherds. He compares these words to the Gospel of John in which Jesus is the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us.
Giglio moves on to other examples of sharing faith in unusual places. His passionate speaking style is quite appealing and his ending note: God was at work in Mary's life that night, he's at work in you tonight; Mary and Joseph held the baby that night, tonight that baby is holding you, is a real tear-jerker. I found this presentation moving and quite powerful. I can see why his style and ability to tie present-day examples of life to the living Word draws large crowds.
Louie Giglio shares talks on God's goodness, grace and love primarily for collegiate student outreach, though the Passion Movement impacts people of all ages. The series all come with discussion guides suitable for use in small groups. Some of the questions for The Twelve Words of Christmas encourage participants to think about their traditions and tensions before viewing the DVD. The questions finish with thought-provoking entreaties to think about the people in your life who need to hear the gospel.
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Lisa Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society, belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater, and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com, and Facebook.