Daily devotionals are not my thing. Often, they become a cheap substitute for studying my Bible, so I’d just prefer to stick with my morning coffee and my copy of The Voice. However, when I saw that Thomas Nelson was offering up A Year with G.K. Chesterton for review, I couldn’t resist. And when I realized the editor was Kevin Belmonte (who worked on Amazing Grace, a movie definitely in my top 10), I was hooked.
Initially, I was disappointed by the brevity of each entry. Beginning with a Scripture for each day, Belmonte has included two quotes from Chesterton. The first is usually relevant to verse, while the second often builds upon the general thought while pursuing Chesterton’s typical madness versus sanity motif. And that is of course what makes the devotional so charming: it captures Chesterton’s penchant for turning a phrase in a daily vitamin format. So the brevity which I initially disdained turned out to be perfect for the intended goal.
There is a downside to a single-serving Chesterton. For instance, when reading an excerpt from one of his various biographies, you’re tossed into the middle of something that you may have no prior knowledge of. Don’t know who Sir Walter Scott is? Better figure it out, and quick. Of course, learning is often motivated by such gaps in our knowledge base, but I don’t know if that was Belmonte’s original end game. Regardless, the negative aspects are far outweighed by the general pleasure of enjoying G.K. Chesterton every day.
At the end of the day (or the beginning if you’re like me), this is a book well worth your time. Add it to your already established routine. Chesterton goes well with The Book of Common Prayer or perhaps the Prayer Book of the Early Christians. A little bit of wit goes a long way, after all.