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Book Review— Enhance Your Christmas

Written by | December, 2011
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Our CLC Bookhouse now carries the
80-page spiral-bound devotional titled

AT BETHLEHEM’S CRIB—
Seven Christmas Sermons
by Norman A. Madson, Sr. (1886-1962). $8.50

In the preface to the booklet, Norman A. Madson, Jr. writes: “After being hidden for seventy-six years in the Norwegian language, this little collection of Christmas sermons by Norman A. Madson, Sr. has come to see the light of day in this English translation….”

Not many of us preachers would choose to use the evangelist Luke’s familiar account of the Savior’s birth as sermon text every Christmas season. However, it appears Madson did that very thing, at least during his early years in the pastoral ministry. Each sermon in this little volume expands upon Luke 2:1-14. Clearly, the preacher wanted his hearers/readers to come to know and appreciate the miracle/mystery of the occupant of Bethlehem’s mangerbed: the enfleshed Son of God come to planet Earth on a rescue mission to save each and every one of its inhabitants!

The preacher/author, Dr. Madson (from 1946-1960 Dean of Bethany Lutheran Seminary, Mankato, Minn.) became a member of the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) for confessional reasons during the closing years of his life.

When he passed away, some of his Christian friends and colleagues made it a point to refer to his Christmas sermons contained in the booklet we are here reviewing.

For example, at the funeral at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, Minn. (Dec. 13, 1962), Prof. C. M. Gullerud had the following to say in connection with the oral “wreath” he laid at the casket of Dean Madson: “There will be memories that will linger on, and one of these memories will center on a little book that is entitled VED BETHLEHEMSKRYBBEN (‘Beside the Manger Bed’). It is a collection of Christmas sermons preached by Madson to his beloved congregations….”

The December 1962 issue of the CLC’s Journal of Theology contained a similar tribute. In connection with an article titled “Norman A. Madson: In Memoriam,” Prof. E. Reim wrote: “…Madson left his mark in many a field. But he was pre-eminently a preacher….His first book, entitled ‘Ved Bethlehemskrybben,’ consisted of a collection of Norwegian Christmas sermons centering around the Manger of Bethlehem….”

Dear reader, enhance your own Christmas and/or that of a relative or friend by putting this special little devotional into their hands. —Pastor Paul Fleischer