Final Thoughts on Christ the Lord
I posted on Anne Rice's newest book, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt a week or so ago. I mentioned that I was part-way through the book and was reflecting on some thoughts on Joseph, Jesus' guardian.
This morning, while enjoying some lovely leisurely day-after-Christmas relaxation, I finished the book. As I closed the cover, all I could think was this book is incredible. It's about the 7-year-old Jesus and his growing understanding about his life and purpose, while always in the embrace of his large extended family. Gradually, he increases in understanding, which reminds me of this verse from Luke 2: "And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him" (v. 40 ESV).
Especially amazing is the ending when Mary finally explains to her son about all of the circumstances of his birth. Jesus longs to be in the temple, with the teachers, trying to understand everything about the Scriptures and what happened at his birth. But Mary finishes her retelling of the events by telling him that the Lord could have given him to the temple, to the teachers, but He chose to place His Son in the midst of a family, to Joseph, His guardian and to Mary, His mother. It was a very poignant and excellently written passage.
Read what the Kirkus reviews wrote about it:
“A riveting, reverent imagining of the hidden years of the child Jesus . . . A triumph of tone—her prose lean, vivid—and character . . . Christ the Lord is a cross between a historical novel and an update of Tolstoy’s The Gospels in Brief, it presents Jesus as nature mystic, healer, prophet and very much a real young boy . . . Essentially it’s a mystery story, of the child grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth . . . As he ponders his staggering responsibility, the boy is fully believable—and yet there’s something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other . . . With this novel, Anne Rice has indeed found a convincing version of him; this is fiction that transcends story and instead qualifies as an act of faith.”
I completely agree. The book was masterfully written with great care, and that comes through on every page. Rice uses some lovely lyrical turns of phrase and creates a kind of prose that is almost poetic. All her skills as a novelist come into play as she builds the story to a climax when the extended family visits Jerusalem for the Passover.
It is definitely a must-read, and I highly recommend it. By the way, it was terrific Christmas reading. Normally during Christmastide, I read Martin Luther's Christmas book by Roland Bainton (which I still will do), but this was wonderful Christmas reading because it made me reflect on the humanity of Christ, on the reality of His growing up in a family, being a real boy.