Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Will You Celebrate Advent Next Year? | Review of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

About the Book

Most Christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet most of us spend little time preparing our hearts to celebrate Him. Why is this? Partly because we don't know how.

In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah Ciuciu leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week:

  • Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together
  • Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week's name of Jesus
  • Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects

This devotional can be used by readers in their own personal worship times or as a tool to engage in family worship during the busy holiday season. Either way, participants will gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is.

By focusing on the person and character of Jesus throughout the Advent season, readers will prepare their hearts so that when they admire the live nativity, sit in the candlelight service, or wake up on Christian morning, they can join the faithful who sing from the bottom of their hearts, "O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"

Be Prepared for Next Christmas!

My Rating


My Review

I enjoyed having a new Advent devotional to go through with my husband this year! The size, feel, and look of this book are lovely, perfect for keeping out in plain view throughout the holiday season. And I think it's a great concept, to daily go through the names of Jesus in preparation for celebrating His birth and who He is as our King and Savior.

As for the content, there are some good thoughts to ponder and creative (and fun!) ideas for families to act on what they've been learning together. I don't recall a whole lot of moments where something struck me in a powerful way...although the reading on "Jesus Is the Truth" has some really neat perspective to offer.

It's possible that reading the book aloud to someone else kept me from focusing and thinking as deeply as I ought to have done. Perhaps I would feel more impacted by the devotions if I read them on my own, or if I took more time to dwell amid the pages, look up all the suggested verses, and respond to the challenges. Still, there are important reminders in here, and this book does encourage daily thoughts of who God is.

The structure isn't my favorite... You have to be thinking and counting ahead to make sure you start the book on time to finish by Christmas. And while there are readings for each weekday, there aren't any for the weekends. However, if you choose to do the interactive candle lighting sections with your family, those can take place on Sundays, and the weekly activities can be done on Saturdays (or anytime during the week), as the author suggests in the introduction.

I have another Advent devotional that has daily readings for the whole month of December, and I believe I prefer that layout, especially if you're using the devotional on your own. But I think the layout for Unwrapping the Names of Jesus could be really fun for a family who's interacting with all the different components of the book.

All in all, this is a unique and meaningful take on Advent, and I appreciate that it points to the greatness and love of Jesus. The devotional is especially geared toward families and encourages participation. It's a book that will be nice to have on hand and perhaps read through again some future Christmas season!

*With thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

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