2016 ECPA Christian Book Award winner!Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme.This special edition is beautifully illustrated. It can serve as a precious guide to help recapture the sacredness of the Advent season and to help the entire family understand and celebrate the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||10.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times sixty-week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today, she's a global advocate for needy children with Compassion International, a loser of library books, a stirrer of soup, a loud laugher, a kid snuggler, a Jesus lover and honestly, a bit of a mess. It's okay really. Grace is the most amazing of all. Her online journal, one of the top 10 most widely read Christian blogs online, is a relief of quiet vulnerability and an oasis of sacred, seeing God in the everyday ugly beautiful: www.aholyexperience.com
Read an Excerpt
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
A Family Celebration of Christmas
By Ann Voskamp
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Ann Voskamp
All rights reserved.
The Place Where Love Grows
TODAY'S READING: ISAIAH 11:1-2, 10
Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.... In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
* * *
Once, in the truest story that you have ever heard, His-Story, which is really your very own story, there was this family—Jesse's family. A family that was like yours, like a tree with branches of these relatives and those brothers and those sisters—a family that loved each other and hurt each other and forgave each other and failed each other. A family that failed God.
And in failing God, they fell away from closeness with God. They failed and fell and were like a fallen tree.
Their family tree was a fallen tree.
When their family tree crashed to the ground, it crushed all of their hearts.
The stump—and all of their days—felt utterly hopeless. Like their hearts had been cut right out of them.
But it happened: the wondrous impossible. It came right out of that chopped-down stump—the miracle no one ever dreamed of. Except for God. God never stopped dreaming of the miracle, the one He'd dreamed right from the very beginning, because love never stops dreaming of a way to draw close again.
If you slowed and looked very close, you could actually see it, coming straight out of that family tree that had been cut right down—a miraculous shoot was springing up out of the stump! A tender and vulnerable green shoot was growing hope again! Growing love again!
Out of the stump came one tender branch that would grow right into a crown of thorns, right into a rugged cross, right into a ladder—your ladder back to God. Out of the stump of Jesse's family tree—out of the stump of every family tree—comes the shoot of Jesus' forever-love. Jesus would go to impossible lengths to rescue you.
Jesus' love had to get to you in a big world, Jesus' love had to come to you in a loud world, Jesus had to break into the world and rescue you with a love that would always wrap safe around you. So Jesus slipped into the world as tiny as a searching green shoot, as small as a reaching new baby. Jesus comes as your little-yet-big miracle, who whispers to you in a noisy world: "Right where you are, look for the small glimpses of My love unfurling around you like a slender leaf, like the branches of a tree, like the seeking limbs of a babe."
Look for the little child everyone else forgets. Look for that hunchbacked old man no one else remembers. Look for the small, broken cracks in the world, in hearts, that would be easy to walk right by—and right there, slip in a little word that grows great courage. Miracles happen whenever we speak words that make souls stronger. Miracles happen whenever we look for shoots of Jesus' love everywhere—because this grows deep roots in Jesus' love for everyone. Miracles happen in the drawing close to the little people, the least people, the lonely people, the lost people—because this is drawing close to Jesus. This is how we all draw love everywhere.
Once, even now, there was this family who slowed down and bent down and could see small, wondrous, impossible things—that no stump is ever just a stump.
A stump is always just a place for love to grow, this small unfurling of miracles.
* * *
Thoughts to Discuss
How do you think God wants us to treat the less popular or less loved kid?
Who in your life needs to know that God loves them?
When have you found hope in a really hard situation?
Plant wheat or grass seeds today. Water them and watch them grow throughout this Advent season. Discuss how your life is like those growing seeds.
Think of small ways you can help people this December. Keep a prayer list for the people you want to show love to, and ask God to use your small actions to produce great results.
As you hang today's ornament on your Jesse Tree, say a prayer for those who are less valued in our world.
Excerpted from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. Copyright © 2014 Ann Voskamp. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsYour Invitation to Unwrap the Gift, 1,
Jesse Tree Invitation and Instructions, 3,
DECEMBER 1 The Place Where Love Grows, 5,
DECEMBER 2 Created by Love, 11,
DECEMBER 3 God Is Looking for You, 17,
DECEMBER 4 God's Tears, 23,
DECEMBER 5 Count the Stars, 29,
DECEMBER 6 The Gift of Laughter, 35,
DECEMBER 7 Here I Am, 41,
DECEMBER 8 Climbing Up, 47,
DECEMBER 9 Surprise Gifts, 53,
DECEMBER 10 Ten Love Rules, 59,
DECEMBER 11 The Red Rope, 65,
DECEMBER 12 The Little Things, 71,
DECEMBER 13 Looking at Things Inside Out, 77,
DECEMBER 14 A Candle in the Darkness, 83,
DECEMBER 15 Bowing Down, 89,
DECEMBER 16 Turning Around, 95,
DECEMBER 17 A True Fairy Tale, 101,
DECEMBER 18 A Bridge to the King, 107,
DECEMBER 19 Watch and Wait, 113,
DECEMBER 20 God Remembers, 119,
DECEMBER 21 Thunder in the Desert, 125,
DECEMBER 22 Wide-Awake Dreams, 131,
DECEMBER 23 He Can't Stay Away, 137,
DECEMBER 24 Kneel at the Manger, 143,
DECEMBER 25 Never-Ending Christmas, 149,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is fantastically written and beautifully illustrated! This is a wonderful way to have a joy-filled advent and keep the meaning of Christmas at the center of your home! It was a little above the age level for my children (5,2,1) so it was difficult to keep up with it but I am sure next year we will be so excited to begin our new family tradition with the amazing ornaments and wonderful family activity ideas at the end of each reading I am so happy to have a family involved Christ centered activity and tradition for our Christmas and advent seasons!! I would certainly include this as an heirloom quality book to give to my kids when they have families of their own. I would without a doubt recommend this to any other family who is looking for a family centered way to keep the meaning of advent at the forefront of their homes.
When my wife told me she wanted to do this, I could sense the season shift already. As grandparents, we celebrate sharing God's love with our family, but we've done this together, without another human to share with. and it is wondrous to share and let Holy Spirit remind us of what we have known and reveal more of the unwrapable gift of God - Himself.. We have renewed Christmas in each other.
Our boys are seven and ten and we are enjoying this book immensely - doing a reading in the evening. There are activities and questions at the end of each day's reading and I have been surprised how attentive and interactive the boys are. Highly recommend as a family activity as way to unwrap the real meaning of Christmas.
I am so excited that I was able to review this amazing book! I have really been wanting to start doing Advent with my family, but had no idea what would be good for our family. Now I know there are other books out there that would also be good for us, but this one is almost perfect. The devotions are spectacular and very eye-opening. They are a little long for our 2 year old, but I plan to summarize so it will be shorter for him when we start as a family. However the message is spot on for each one as well as in line with the Bible. My favorite part however is the variety of family activities mentioned at the end of each devotion. They truly get the family involved together which I love (outside of doing the Christmas ornament for the Jesse tree and discussion)! Also the pictures are so beautiful! I highly recommend this to families who are looking for a new way to prepare for Christmas not only individually, but as a family. It will change the entire family's outlook on the real meaning of Christmas and bring a fresh heart of thankfulness. *(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
Did not get to read it during this Christmas season but can hardly wait until next Advent season.