Ideal for individuals or groups seeking a deeper understanding of the Christmas story and its links with the Hebrew Bible, Pathway to the Stable offers a twenty-first century introduction to the people and places central to the story of the birth of Jesus, with reference to the promises of the Old Testament and its setting in the contemporary Jewish and Roman worlds.
'In this rich and rewarding series of studies, Ivor Rees has taken us deep into the biblical world in order to show us once more the glory of the coming of Our Lord, the nativity and childhood of Jesus Christ.'
Revd. D. Densil Morgan, Professor of Theology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Pathway to the Stable offers a thoughtful, biblical and prayerful introduction to the Christmas story. Ivor Rees introduces us to the various characters, places and sources which are found in the Bible accounts, and draws them together to bring out the meaning of Jesus' birth at Bethlehem. I commend it to all who seek to delve deeper into these familiar stories and uncover more of the mystery of Christ's Incarnation. ~ Revd. Dr. Stephen Wigley, Chairman, Wales District of the Methodist Church
Ivor Thomas Rees’ decades of pastoral ministry and years of study of Scripture are richly reflected in this beautiful new Advent resource for ministers and laypersons – and all those who seek the Holy Child of Bethlehem. Preachers will appreciate the depth of Biblical scholarship and vibrant interpretive work as they prepare for Advent and Christmas preaching, while lay readers will gain new and faith-filled insights and historical context for beloved Scripture we think we already know so well. Ivor Rees’ writing style is warm and engaging; the author is both scholar and minister as he guides the reader through sacred texts and history, the fateful decisions ordinary people like Mary and Joseph made after encounters with God, and how these stories speak to us today. ‘Pathway to the Stable’ is clearly a labour of love for Ivor Rees, and a marvellous early Christmas present for all who are earnest about their faith in Jesus Christ. ~ The Revd. Kathy Lawes, Associate Conference Minister, Illinois Conference, United Church of Christ
In this rich and rewarding series of studies, Ivor Rees has taken us deep into the biblical world in order to show us once more the glory of the coming of Our Lord, the nativity and childhood of Jesus Christ. The context takes us back, to the Old Testament expectation and its messianic fulfilment, but the application is modern, showing us how relevant the story remains to the complexities and conundrums of twenty-first century life. Although rooted in scripture, the author knows that his witness and ours must always be for our own time and to our own world. The verse which occurred to me again and again as I read these chapters was ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13: 8). It is a pleasure to commend this penetrating and heart-warming volume. ~ Revd. D. Densil Morgan, Professor of Theology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
New light on an old story: A lifetime of Nativity plays could not prepare you for the twists and turns on the route to Bethlehem and back explored in Pathway to the Stable, a fascinating book that gives Christmas a contemporary realism. Only men needed to register in the census. So why did Joseph take a heavily pregnant Mary with him? Was he afraid to leave her with his family? Even to leave her with her own family? Was it the end of the story for the Wise Men – or the beginning? Almost 40 years later when evangelists travelled east to take the Good News, they were welcomed by people who had already been told. And a thousand years later, Marco Polo, claimed he was shown the tombs of the Magi. Was the temple visit of the 12-year-old Jesus the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah? On the long journey home it was common to walk in groups of men, boys, women, girls. He could well have been with the Bar Mitzvah group. His parents would not have missed him until families came together for the night. This book brings together aspects of history, literature, theology, language, culture, with seeming ease to shine a striking, modern light on the circumstances around the birth of Christ at the same time that it underlines the strong link between them and stories in the Old Testament. ~ Dr. Jean Silvan Evans, former Journalist & Lecturer in Journalism, elder of the United Reformed Church
This collection of portraits from the biblical birth narratives reflects a life long commitment to a ministry of preaching and bible study. Here the familiar - perhaps over-familiar - characters are set within their religious and cultural context so as to reveal something of their significance within Jesus' story as well as ours. The short prayers at the end of each chapter help us to focus on the message for us. This short book would be a helpful guide for anyone wishing to use the period of Advent to seek new insights on familiar characters. ~ Revd. Dr. Noel Davies, former General Secretary, Cytun, Churches Together in Wales
In this book we are given the kind of material we need for our meditations in the Christmas season. Light of touch and with pastoral concern, born of a lifetime of Christian ministry, the Revd. Ivor Thomas Rees challenges us to look afresh at passages of Scripture with which we can at times be overfamiliar. Above all, there are riches here for mind and spirit, as we try to make our way ‘even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass. ~ Professor Ceri Davies, Emeritus Professor of Class
Routinely, the secular world introduces Christmas on the shelves of supermarkets sometime in October. A month or so later the church constantly seeks ways to slow down that marketing mania by encouraging a careful observance of Advent. In this very readable book Ivor Rees provides a useful resource to help us as individuals to 'slow down' as we rediscover annually our own 'pathways to the stable'. It leaves no Christmas stone unturned as its makes significant connections between scripture, tradition, personalities and questions in preparation for the birthday of our Lord. ~ The Ven. Andrew Carrol Jones, Archdeacon of Merioneth, author and regular contributor to ‘New Daylight’
Ivor Rees writes informatively and reflectively about the Christmas story, in ways that will give new depth of insight to many readers. He has done his homework, and gives a good deal of background on people and places in those early chapters of Matthew and Luke. More than this, Ivor's writing also draws out a message of faith for Christians today, so that the events and texts speak into our own experience. Telling of Christmas in these ways puts flesh on the ancient word. ~ The Revd. Dr. John Proctor, General Secretary, United Reformed Church
Here is a gem from one who throughout a long ministry has taught and preached the meaning of the Incarnation. In this book his thoughts are crystallised providing us with valuable historical, theological and spiritual insights into the Christmas story. ~ The Revd. Canon Arthur Howells, Swansea; author of The Little Book of Advent
In this companion book to his work on the passion, Ivor sees Christmas and Easter as part of one action. He draws on his years as a United Reformed Church minister preaching about Christmas and considers the historical aspects, but through his questions about the characters in the narrative he also invites us to consider their motivation, and by ending each chapter with a prayer, he helps us to consider how we might be God-enablers and God-bearers in our place and time. ~ The Revd. Simon Walkling, Moderator of the National Synod of Wales, United Reformed Church