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:
Light a candle
A verse to read aloud
Call and respond text
The daily devotions start with a verse and then dive into a reflection that unpacks a name of Jesus. They get even more in-depth with a "challenge" to apply to your life and end with a written prayer and verses for further study. I love how deep this small devotional goes - you not only get your quiet time to reflect but an action item to put it into practice.
Besides the wonderful content, the book is beautiful in appearance - it features a gold foil hardcover, attractive font choices, and full-color pages to introduce the weekly themes. The eye-catching appeal of this book makes it a joy to read. As well, Asheritah Ciuciu has a gentle, wise tone that carries throughout the reading. For instance, the devotional begins with a prayer (I love this!).
In all, this book is a beautiful way to prepare for Christmas individually or as a family; this book works both ways. It would also make a great gift book. It's definitely a book that fills you with the right kind of Christmas Spirit.