40 Favorite Hymns for the Christian Year: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning

176 pages | Hardcover | $15.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $9.99 | ePub: $9.99


For generations, Christians have celebrated holidays and seasons with special songs. We all have favorite Christmas carols or Easter hymns, and some of us associate certain hymns with events like Thanksgiving or the New Year. But often we overlook the fact that these familiar songs are also powerful works of devotional poetry.

This anthology of great hymns associated with the calendar year invites us to experience these works as poems—to slow down and savor their well-turned phrases, their surprising metaphors, and their evocative language. English professor Leland Ryken provides historical background and literary analysis for each hymn, finishing each with a Scripture reading to accompany it. The result is a wonderfully devotional and poetic study for the Christian’s year, drawing on hymns for the New Year, Good Friday, Easter, Christmas, and more.

List of Hymns

New Year 

  • O God, Our Help in Ages Past by Isaac Watts
  • Standing at the Portal by Frances Ridley Havergal
  • Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand by Philip Doddridge
  • God of Our Life by Hugh Thomson Kerr 
  • Another Year Is Dawning by Frances Ridley Havergal

Good Friday

  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts
  • O Sacred Head, Now Wounded by Paul Gerhardt
  • Beneath the Cross of Jesus by Elizabeth Clephane
  • Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed by Isaac Watts
  • My Song Is Love Unknown by Samuel Crossman
  • Lead Me to Calvary by Jennie Evelyn Hussey
  • Jesus, Keep Me near the Cross by Fanny Crosby 


  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today by Charles Wesley
  • Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands by Martin Luther
  • The Day of Resurrection! by John of Damascus
  • The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done by Author Unknown
  • Look, Ye Saints, the Sight Is Glorious by Thomas Kelly
  • Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain by John of Damascus

Reformation Day 

  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by Martin Luther
  • I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord by Timothy Dwight
  • O Word of God Incarnate by William Walsham How
  • Not What My Hands Have Done by Horatius Bonar
  • How Vast the Benefits Divine by Augustus Toplady


  • Now Thank We All Our God by Martin Rinkart
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come by Henry Alford
  • We Plow the Fields by Matthias Claudius
  • We Gather Together by Author Unknown
  • For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott S. Pierpoint


  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Author Unknown
  • Joy to the World by Isaac Watts
  • Hark! the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley
  • As with Gladness, Men of Old by William Chatterton Dix
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem by Phillips Brooks
  • Once in Royal David’s City by Cecil Frances Alexander
  • Angels, from the Realms of Glory by James Montgomery
  • Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning by Reginald Heber
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful by John Francis Wade
  • It Came upon the Midnight Clear by Edmund Sears
  • Silent Night by Joseph Mohr

The Author

Leland Ryken, author of more than fifty books on biblical and literary topics, is the literary editor of the ESV Bible and emeritus professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Everyday Prayer with the Reformers

136 pages | Hardcover | $15.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $9.99 | ePub: $9.99


When God’s children pray, we talk to a God familiar with the requests, praise, and longings of generations of his people. We have much to learn from those who went before us. In this devotional, Donald McKim takes us back to the wisdom of over twenty Protestant Reformers—including John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon. As McKim draws from the insightful writings and prayers of the Reformers of yesteryear, he provides brief, meditative readings, along with reflection questions and prayer points, to nourish our prayer lives today.


“We are all indebted to Don McKim for making the great Reformers accessible and for showing us how pertinent their work remains to our spiritual lives today. This is a gem of a book and a wonderful guide for worship and devotion.”

—Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“These devotional gems bring together scriptural passages, Reformers’ insights, and Donald McKim’s own pastoral heart. This rich resource will surely foster and deepen believers’ lives of prayer.”

—Karin Maag, Director, H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Calvin University

“This book weaves together two wonderful avenues of theological reflection: historical and theological perspectives on Scripture from the Reformers as well as thoughtful direction for how we can apply these truths in our lives today. Rich in content without being too heavy or heady—a wonderful addition to my daily reading.”

—Scott Manor, President, Knox Theological Seminary

The Author

Donald K. McKim has served as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), a professor of theology and academic dean at Memphis Seminary, a professor at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and an editor for Westminster John Knox Press. He is an award-winning author and editor.