How to focus on Christ during Advent
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:
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!"
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional, by Asheritah Ciuciu is a devotional book that provides an insightful way to focus on Jesus Christ during Advent, which spans the upcoming weeks until Christmas.
The author shared that "the purpose of this devotional is to help us worship Jesus as we gain a greater sense of awe and wonder and who He is."
This devotional is divided into the following sections: Week 1 // Hope, Week 2 // Preparation, Week 3 // Joy, Week 4 // Love, and Christmas, as well as Why Celebrate Advent and A Prayer for You and Me. Each week features the Advent Celebration, which includes lighting the Advent candle, prayers, scripture verses and passages, dialogue to read, discussion questions to ponder, and a Christmas carol to sing. The following days each week provides a daily devotional with a scripture verse, devotional text, challenge to complete, prayer, and scripture passages for further study. Also, each week features a section with Christmas related activities and bonus content.
According to the Introduction, the author wrote, "I structured this book around the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week begins with an Advent celebration on Sunday, which you can use individually or with your family. You'll find short reflections on the names of Jesus for each weekday, followed by challenges to go deeper, prayers to jump-start your private worship, and additional Scripture references in case you want to study the name further. I've also provided service-oriented ideas and suggestions for activities that can be done during the week or on Saturday to help you apply that week's theme to your Christmas preparations."
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is a detailed, practical, and inspirational holiday devotional, which is geared towards individuals and families. I look forward to re-reading this Advent devotional during the upcoming Christmas season.
I'm going to start by saying straight out - I LOVE THIS BOOK! Not only does it look beautiful right down to the end pages, but I am left feeling so inspired! So much so, in fact, that I went online and bought a advent wreath to follow the steps she outlines and do advent this year with my family. I am so excited. I love the traditions of christmas and Asheritah has made it so easy to know what to do, having outlined all the steps and scriptures etc. She explained advent in such an easy to understand way. I've always wondered about it and what it is all about.
Each day is numbered and along with her devotion it also has a challenge, a prayer and a further study section.
This book is laden with ideas and inspirations! Each week has a spread of activities to do that week for example: Bake a birthday cake for Jesus, make snowflakes, make hot cocoa for the homeless, bake cookies... and much more.
I am very excited for December 1st to come along in two weeks to go through this entire book again but this time with my family! I will let you know how it goes if I remember!
I definitely recommend this book!
Each week starts with a Sunday devotional that includes an urge to say a prayer, then light your candle, a verse to read aloud, a very short back and forth which you can say yourself or share the parts with your family, another verse and then a bible reading, followed by discussion questions and a carol.
I didn't not grow up celebrating Advent. However, during our travels while my husband was Active Duty in the Army for 20 years, we added it in. It was only after we were exposed to it at a church we attended during one of our duty stations that we begin to understand what Advent was about. It has became a time of year that all of us look forward to and enjoy. The traditions and stories shared through the Advent season I hope will be come traditions my children will also pass on.
Now for more about this book! Each day of the traditional week there is a name of Jesus that is read. This includes a challenge and prayer related to that name. Then there are a few more Bible verses for further study. Lastly, at the end of the week there is a list of activities that can be done on the weekend to help you celebrate the season and remember what it is about. All of these activities are fun, but faith filled to point us back to the ONE.
I personally love this book and am so excited to add this into our regular Advent studies!
Asheritah Ciuciu writes with a quiet, contemplative style. She did not grow up observing Advent, but she decided to study Advent practices as an adult. She created this lovely, brief book based on her studies.
The book is divided into four weeks of devotions to reflect the four weeks of Advent. Each day dips deep into biblical and historical contexts to unpack the names of Jesus. I like that each day includes a thoughtful challenge and a beautiful prayer. But what I like most is that each week includes a group devotional option and fun activities you can do with your family (including service activities).
I’m a mom to one teen and two tweens, and this book is perfectly suited for the ages of my children. If your children are younger, you can easily modify the weekly group readings and questions to accommodate their level of understanding. This book is suited to personal study, perfect for busy moms due to its brief length.
In my family, we light an Advent candle on a wreath each Sunday night and read a Christmas devotion. This book will help us focus on Jesus with reverence and awe during our family Advent devotions.
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.