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Showing posts from October, 2017

Fill Up With the Right Kind of Christmas Spirit

I've always had that longing, in the back of my mind, to really dig into Advent. More than just lighting the candle at church on Sunday, more than just a quick thought here and there. I wanted to take quiet time and learn about what each week was all about.

Enter Unwrapping the Names of Jesus. This is the book I've been looking for.

I love the idea behind this devotional - a lot of advent devotionals focus on stories of Christmases past; while that's good, I really appreciate a devotional that's all about Jesus and the gift that He is.

Centered around the four weeks of Advent, each week has a theme (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love) and five days of devotionals centered on a name of Jesus. There is also a separate devotional for Christmas day. It's a great way of keeping the readings focused and centered on not only Advent, but the reason for Advent.

Each weekly theme page features a related Bible verse and Advent instructions such as:

Opening prayerLight a candleA…

Think Christmas. In October.

Yes. I know. It's October. You're still thinking Thanksgiving, Halloween, Reformation Day - all the major holidays you love to celebrate.
But now is the time to think Christmas.

Okay, okay, hear me out. 
Think of this - a child who's never celebrated Christmas the way we do in North America. A child who's never celebrated a birthday the way we do in North America. 
Think of this - a child being blessed by a total stranger; feeling Jesus' love and gift through a simple, practical shoebox.
If you've never heard of Operation Christmas Child, it's a program run by Samaritan's Purse to bless children in need all around the world. You fill a shoebox with gifts like school supplies, hygiene items, and toys, and it gets delivered to a happy boy or girl (who may have never received something like this before).
I remember participating in packing a shoebox as a child - it was so much fun to pick out things for another kid somewhere on the other side of the world.…

A Unique "Code Word" Devotional (and Great for Men!)

So I've been in the habit of picking up pretty, shiny, girly devotionals lately. I've been on the lookout for a devotional for a man, and this one caught my eye. With a leather-look, embossed cover, classic design, and straightforward text, I think this book is a good choice.

This compact devotional holds 365 devotions, beginning on January 1. While you can start at any point in the year, this devotional would make a great Christmas present for someone to start reading in the new year. (It even has a dedication page in the front.)

Each devotional starts with a Bible verse (in NKJV), a short (3-4 paragraph) topical reading, a code word with a thought-provoking question or description, and then a short prayer. Each reading is short and to-the-point, making it easy to consume as a daily habit.

I really like the "code word" aspect of this devotional. It makes it unique from other devotionals and easy to have a takeaway each day after your reading. Code words are short a…

The Perfect Book to Ponder and Enjoy Around the Christmas Tree

I love Christmas. I love the story of Jesus' birth. I love the color schemes and wintry delights. I love the peace and joy it brings. I love all of it. And, therefore, I love this book.

From the sparkling, padded cover, to the gorgeously illustrated Bible story, this book satiates my Christmas hunger (previously thought to be insatiable! ha).

This book beautifully illustrates the Bible passage of Jesus' birth, and also features 31 devotions for self-reflection during the advent season. I like the length of the devotions - they are about two pages long; enough to pack in some real thought. They start with a Bible verse suited to the topic, and then have a story related to the topic. They all end with a short prayer. Then, they have an activity (this is the part I like most); something like a reflection question, writing a letter, or lighting a candle. Finally, the devotion ends with a call-out summarizing the lesson.

This book is a great tool to read through during advent seaso…