Book Review: A Family Advent

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Christian tradition of Advent — anticipating the coming of Christmas with a month of reflection — has been observed for centuries.  The use of the advent wreath probably began with Martin Luther in the late 1400′s, and in the rush of modernity, many Protestants have fallen out of the habit of observing the ceremony. This book is intended to help Christians re-institute the tradition in their homes.

There are four weeks of 5-10 minute daily devotions consisting of a brief scripture passage and 2-3 paragraphs to be read aloud, followed by a brief prayer. It appears to be written by a collaborative team, since there’s no author cited, and its visual presentation is quite beautiful.  Each week has a page with interesting historical facts about Christmas, and an activity to try out with your children.  It’s designed to appeal to a broad variety of Christians, and for that reason it lacks some theological specificity: The meditation on John 3:16 on p. 60, for example, says that Jesus died to provide a way for us to reach the Father, but it doesn’t mention our sin which required His death. But you don’t find the kind of doctrinal specificity I might prefer, you probably also won’t find much to offend.

This is an easy-to-use resource for parents who want a zero-prep, brief devotional for a busy holiday season. It’s easy to read, reasonably engaging, and everyone will learn something. The suggested activities are well-chosen, except perhaps for stargazing in December (brr).  It’s best suited to an upper-elementary audience, but readings are brief enough that smaller kids will probably sit through it.

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Publication Information: Thomas Nelson. Family Advent, A. Thomas Nelson Gift Books. 2008. ISBN: 140418676X.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on November 28, 2014

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