It’s finally happened! After thoroughly enjoying our Thanksgiving break, the Christmas spirit has started filtering in around our house. (Well, our girls already had it; I was the one who was lagging behind!)
As we cruise through this last week of November, I have a question for you.
What do you want most out of the Christmas season this year? Yes, I know we all mean to slow down and really celebrate the meaning of Christmas. I hear lots of talk about keeping things simple, spending time with family and friends, and soaking in the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Yet in spite of all our good intentions (mine included!), it’s so easy to get caught up in all that Christmas brings. From the concerts to the parties, cookie swaps to gift buying, we can breeze right through the season without ever making time to mark the real reason for Christmas with our families.
No matter what time of year it is, I always appreciate opportunities to put Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 into practice.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Today I get to share a resource that can help us do just that!
I was given the opportunity to review Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu. Just seeing the pretty packaging got me into a Christmas frame of mind! Moody Publishers thoughtfully included several Christmas cards. Each is designed with a name of Jesus on the front, and a related verse and message on the inside.
Besides the beautiful cover, I like the layout of this book.
The content is broken down into four one-week sections. Each section focuses on one of the four weeks of Advent – Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love. On Sunday, you could light a candle, if you wish, and read aloud with your family the devotional provided for the first day of the week. It includes a theme verse, a Scripture passage to read, three discussion questions, and a Christmas carol to sing together.
Following that are five brief devotionals, to be done Monday through Friday. Each one has a reading, a challenge, a prayer, and verses for further study. At the end of each week is a list of activities and service-oriented projects. You and/or your family could choose one or more of these to do. They provide ways to put that week’s theme into action.
I’ll be honest – December is a hard month for us to have time together as a family. Both girls play basketball at their school. That means games twice a week, and some late practices other nights. They’ve got a piano recital and a band/choir concert scheduled. In a perfect world, we’d sit down to supper together most nights, but that’s just not happening often these days.
However, now that I have this book in my hands, I feel like making Advent part of our Christmas this year is doable. It will only take a few minutes to go through each day’s reading. I’m determined that we’ll find a way to make it happen!
If you’d like to check out the inside of the book, go here to read an excerpt. Moody Publishers is graciously offering a 40% discount on the book to my blog readers if you buy the book through this link, and use the promo code ADVENT40. (You must use the link provided in order for the discount to apply.) It’s available in hardcover or an ebook version.
[Note: As I was putting together this post, the book was on backorder through the Moody Publishers website. I’m hoping that will have changed by the time this post is published, but I wanted to let you know that it’s also available on Amazon. Though the discount code won’t apply on Amazon, the book is still very reasonably priced.]
I also wanted to say that you could totally do this study on your own! In fact, I’m considering doing it by myself each morning before going through it with my family in the evening. I love the idea of focusing on Jesus in December, and anticipating the day that we celebrate His birth.
If you already celebrate Advent in some way, I’d love to hear about it! I’m excited about getting into this book, and can definitely see this becoming a family tradition.
Moody Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not compensated for this review in any other way.