Ted Loder, senior minister of Philadelphia's First United Methodist Church of Germantown, presents 15 nativity stories and modern fables arranged for daily use during Advent. This reissue of a popular 1985 volume is based on Loder's ideal: "Imagination is the dancing partner of faith." He gives us glimpses of the awesome, startling, and life-changing power of the nativity by presenting this oft-told story from the perspectives of a clumsy servant girl at the inn, a stable keeper, a midwife who helped Mary give birth, a donkey, a goat, and a swallow. Loder lets in light from many directions as he inspires us with "glimpses, glimmers of the invisible, terrible, tender God in the incarnation." And in several contemporary pieces, the author makes it clear that God with us is the truth of Christmas.

Congregations will want to read some of these stories aloud in small groups or in the sanctuary. Tracks in the Straw challenges us all to be detectives searching for more clues about the majesty and the meaning of the nativity.