Forget what I said about Daughter Zion, this book is a little bit longer (maybe 20 pages or so), but it is a much, much better introduction to Pope Benedict XVI’s writings and required reading during Advent.
In The Infancy Narratives, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, looks at each Gospels’ telling of the birth and early life of Jesus. He draws on the best and most recent of Biblical scholarship to really paint a picture of those early days and explain what we need to know.
Unlike Daughter Zion, it is written explicitly for a general audience. There is a break in the text about every other page. It is all about Biblical exegesis, the study of the Bible as history and literature to arrive at a text’s meaning. I think that would appeal to a much wider audience than the more particular study of the Jewish roots of Mary found in Daughter Zion.
Although it doesn’t contain nearly as many long, difficult words and concepts, it still doesn’t skimp on the depth or breadth of knowledge found in Daughter Zion. I have studied Biblical exegesis at a graduate-level and I found this book to contain some things I didn’t know as well as being a good summary of many of the things I’ve studied.
Reading this book now will put you in a good mindset for the coming Christmas season. It will give you a better and different appreciation for the Gospel readings in the coming days. It will help you to think more deeply about all of the events around Jesus’ birth. I highly recommend picking a copy up before Advent is over!