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Advent is upon us—the celebration of Christ's birth.

While we were tempted to put together a list of advent resources, we thought we would get a little more personal and list three books that made us love Jesus more. These would make great reads over the holidays as we reflect on the birth of Christ, or would make excellent gifts for those around you!

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp 

Ryan: This book was my introduction to Paul Tripp during my time in seminary. The book discuss the relationships in the church, particularly the fact that God brought us together in the local church to worship him and to be blessings to one another. Tripp rightly identifies our biggest problem: sin. It infects everything we do and while we are all infected with this, Christians have the answer. Tripp pushes the reader to see Jesus as the solution to the biggest problems we face. 

God Is the Gospel by John Piper

Corey: Piper offers a wonderfully simple but stunning picture of God's glory in the gospel through supremely focusing on the person of Jesus: "The goal of the consummation of the gospel is the glory of God in the face of Christ.  And the highest good in the good news is that we see and savor the One who is infinitely worthy of being glorified and marveled at” (p. 122).

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund

Cody: This book is a balm for the weary soul. It is one of those rare books that feels like a classic as soon as it is published. If you find yourself heavy-laden and wondering if Christ could actually love you as much as the Scriptures say, take heart: “For all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, his supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ” (p. 20).

The Gospel Driven Church: Uniting Church Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace by Jared C. Wilson 

Ryan: While reading this, I was reminded that the local church must matter to us because it matters to Jesus. So much of what we see going on in churches today is nothing more than slick marketing and results-driven practices derived from successful businesses. Wilson illustrates that the church must be focused on the gospel above any form of human wisdom or ingenuity.

In My Place Condemned He Stood by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever

Corey: This book details the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and how it not only changed everything but is the center of all redemptive history.
Here’s a pull-quote: "True Christ-centeredness is, and ever must be, cross-centeredness. The cross on which the divine-human mediator hung, and from which he rose to reign on the basis and in the power of his atoning death, must become the vantage point from which we survey the whole of human history and human life, the reference point for explaining all that has gone wrong in the world everywhere and all that God has done and will do to put it right, and the center point for fixing the flow of doxology and devotion from our hearts" (p. 148-149).

Five Theological Orations by Saint Gregory of Nazianzus

Cody: I know, I know . . . yet another church father reference from me. This little book singlehandedly got me interested in the early church’s understanding of Christ’s person and work. While it can be tough to read ancient works, I would be lying if it weren’t on my list of three books that made me love Jesus more. It's the single best introduction to Christology I've ever read.

Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller 

Ryan: This may be a strange entry on this list but I put it here for two reasons. First, I’m a preacher so I read a lot of books about preaching and communicating and this is the one book that I recommend to young pastors. Second, everything Keller writes or preaches is saturated with the glory of the gospel. I haven’t found another communicator who can communicate across all demographic differences as well as Keller.

Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan

Corey: The richness with which the Puritans communicate biblical truths is beautiful and cultivates joy and wonder in my heart to know better the glory of Calvary. "Man by nature is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, for darkness has blinded his eyes; neither can anything but Jesus Christ lead men out this darkness. Natural conscience cannot do it; the ten commandments, though in the heart of man, cannot do it. This prerogative belongs only to Jesus Christ" (p. 68).

Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson

Cody: Jared makes almost every one of our lists—in fact, he made this one twice. His writing has been a companion to me since I graduated high school. Gospel Deeps talks about how “a wardrobe can contain a world” (as he so pithily plays off the Chronicles of Narnia series). Perhaps it was merely when I read it, but the book left a profound mark on my life, and I hope it could do the same for you.