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!"
I was so very blessed by this book! This is more that just another book about advent. This book helps you recall and rekindle the love you have for the Lord, by studying His different names. I loved how the book was laid out. Each day had a short, but meaningful devotion about a different name of the Lord. Asheritah then provided more scripture references if you wanted to go deeper. There are also great online resources to supplement the book as well! I was so fortunate to be given a free copy of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus to review! However, I would have wanted to snatch one up myself. Definitely a must read: before or after Christmas!
If you are interested in learning more about how to prepare you heart to celebrate Jesus’ birth, I highly recommend this Advent devotional from Asheritah Ciuciu.
We spend so much time preparing our homes, menus, and gift lists for Christmas that it's easy to completely forget to prepare our hearts. Asheritah writes in the introduction, “Most Christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet few of our calendars would reflect that priority.” Ouch, right?
But Unwrapping the Names of Jesus will help you change that. Through daily devotions focusing on the names of Jesus, Asheritah will help you prepare yourself spiritually so you can worship Him like never before. Each day includes a Scripture passage, a short devotion, a challenge, a prayer, and Scriptures for further study, and will prepare your heart in the midst of the busy season.
There are even optional family advent activities to help you celebrate Advent as a family, which I love. And many of them are simple and practical enough for even young children, which I appreciate since my oldest is 3 1/2.
I absolutely loved this devotional (and I’m not even a big devotional girl!) for several reasons.
I learned more about Advent and the meanings of the different weeks.
I learned historical and cultural facts that connected me more to Jesus.
The devotionals were short, but were not lacking in depth, as I’ve found some quick devotionals to be.
The challenges helped me internalize and apply the messages of the devotionals.
The activities are awesome! Some of them are standard Christmas activities that you’re probably already doing, and some of them are more novel, but all of them are very realistic and practical, which I appreciated!
I have no reservations about recommending this devotional to anyone looking to prepare their hearts to worship. And it wouldn’t even have to be confined to Christmas, either. Though the readings and activities center around the Christmas season, I think you could easily read this devotional any time of the year. Because Jesus should be adored all year ‘round.
Are you looking for a perfect Advent book for yourself or for your family? Look no further!!! This book needs to be in your possession, for sure.
First of all, whoever designed this cover should be given many thanks. They did a fantastic job! As soon as I got it, I couldn’t wait to see what was inside. It was a book that I looked at and got excited about everytime I took it off the counter. It may be one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a long time.
The beauty doesn’t stop there. In fact, so much beauty is found within. The pages are a nicer paper that fits with the cover so well. It reminds me, as I turn the pages, that this is a book to be enjoyed year after year and not just a one-time thing.
Of course the most beautiful part of the book can be found at the top of the pages…the different names of Jesus. When I first got it, I was going to just use this book for myself. However, I quickly vetoed that idea after the first name and decided it was going to be used as our family Advent book. Then I recommended it out for many to get because it was just that good.
As a family Advent devotional, it does have some bigger words for little kids. My kids are 2, 7, and 9 but they go to Bible Study Fellowship where many of these things have been talked about and studied. Because of that, we had such deep conversations over the names of Jesus. My favorite thing was the questions I could ask them at the end that were heart questions. I got a lot of deep answers from them, which was exciting. Well, I should clarify that my 2-year-old would say Jesus’ name but then would be up and down and all around, so it wasn’t perfect…it was real. But the other two kids really enjoyed the devotions.
We use an Advent candle and my favorite part were the pages about the different candles and why we light them. It has some readings to go along with it, which my kids enjoyed taking turns reading.
I found this to be a very family-friendly book that was biblical. It has definitely prepared our hearts for Christmas Day and for Jesus. How wonderful to hear the names of Jesus and to study them right before Christmas.
This is the second book I have read by Asheritah Circiu and I have found her to be a wise woman who stands on biblical principles. Her book, Full, was wonderfully written about the struggles we have with food. Now she has come out with the perfect Advent book and I saw that she has a Bible Study coming out soon, as well. I’m curious to see what that will look like!
Asheritah hit the ball out of the park with this book!
I never celebrated Advent in previous seasons so this was my first introduction to advent. It has such easy information to follow each week and the daily devotions have been great! Not only am I growing closer to Christ in this season but also my kids. This is a family friendly devotional that I think each family should have this book! It can be reused each year as you and your family grows in their faith.
Thank you so much Asheritah for another amazing book you have written!
The first time I have ever heard of Advent was about eight years ago at our church. This year, I have been hearing the term pop up more and more which sparked some curiosity on the subject. I wanted to learn more about the importance of this tradition celebrated this time of year.
In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah starts off her introduction with something I believe every reader can relate to.
“We spend much of the holiday season creating our own little winter wonderlands: cookies and cards, lights and decorations, carols and get-togethers. But what exactly are we doing to prepare spiritually? Most Christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet few of our calendars would reflect that priority.” (pg.10)
How true is this? This time of the year, everyone is being influenced by the television commercials, social media, and even our family and friends to keep up with the latest and have the picture-perfect Christmas. Everything seems to pile up so quickly that we lose sight of why we are celebrating this Holiday season in the first place.
To help put our focus back on Jesus, Asheritah has created this devotional to not only help us read about the importance of Advent on this holiday season but to help us learn more about who Jesus is by making this book centered and focused on who He is. Throughout the book, Asheritah has provided daily readings and weekly activities that take readers through the various names of Jesus presented in Scripture and reminds them of who Jesus is and the importance of what He has done for those who trust in Him for salvation.
This book is so beautifully written and designed. Each daily reading is Christ-centered and filled with scripture readings to get you digging deeper into the word. Personally, I think this is wonderful because the reading of God’s holy word is being so neglected in today’s word with all the distractions we have. These scriptures not only help you learn more about Jesus, but they also bring you comfort and encouragement during this very busy time of year.
This book can be used not only as a book on Advent but would make an excellent book for a bible study to learn more about our Savior.
I highly recommend Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and look forward to reading it annually with my family on December mornings.
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.