Why I Will Use the Why Christmas? Devotional This Christmas
Christmas is a big deal in our house. I love to take the entire month of December to do various Advent activities that lead up to the cumulative event of celebrating Jesus's birth. So, I'm always looking for great resources to use towards this end. My search is now over; I have found the ultimate family Advent devotional.
From the moment I first opened Why Christmas? by Barbara Reaoch, I loved it. The lessons were deep, rich, and not watered down; however, they still retained an age appropriateness that would appeal to children. Even the beautiful illustrations were ones that children of all ages could enjoy and were not cartoonish or too juvenile. Brilliantly done! Additionally, some children's Advent books are so simple that I think kids would get bored after hearing the same devotions/stories year after year. This book is so deep that I don't foresee that happening, as I think my children will explore different layers within this book as they grow. Interestingly, although the book is marketed towards children, it ministered to me as an adult.
This absolutely wonderful devotional has four full weeks of devotional lessons to help families prepare their hearts for Christmas. The format for each day is predictable and easy to follow. First, there is a Bible passage to look up and read. Secondly, there is a section for the parents to read to the children which expounds upon the verses read. Thirdly, a section called “Truth” provides a one sentence summary of the lesson. The fourth section is discussion questions related to the reading. Next is a Bible passage to memorize. The children are expected to memorize one Bible passage per week. However, the book breaks this larger task into smaller ones by asking the children to memorize a smaller portion (a verse) daily, while having them recite the portion they have already memorized. Additionally, there is a statement or word from the day's memory verse that the family is to discuss each day. Examples of these include the terms/words “Caesar Augustus,” “good news of great joy,” or Savior.” One lesson has children locate various towns on a map because the names of the towns are the terms for that day's verse. (Please note: Unlike how the discussion of the verse is done in Why Easter?, I felt like Why Christmas? was clear and concise in the instructions for this part. It's easy to discuss a word with children. Also, I liked how Why Christmas? handled the Bible memory passages overall. You can find my review of Why Easter? over here.)The lesson then ends with a Christmas song and a discussion question related to the lyrics. (I liked the fact that the songs could be found at the back of the book!)
I love that the devotional contains deep questions instead of the trite and often typical “surfacey” questions that simply have “Jesus” as the right answer...every single time. Personally, I want my kids to be able to think critically, express their beliefs fluently, and not just reiterate the “Christianese” they've been taught to say. I think this book will go a long way in helping us as a family reach that goal. Overall, this is a beautifully written resource that I plan to have my family use year after year.
Publisher's Book Description:
Why do we celebrate Christmas? Most children do not know the true answer to that question or why God sent Jesus to live on earth. Why Christmas? is a helpful devotional with Scripture reading, memory verse, Christmas carol and questions to direct your child’s heart towards God. The readings, which begin on the first day of December, are Biblical, short, and effective. Colorful illustrations illuminate the events of the incarnation. This book will provide parents with the assistance they desire for leading their child to the Christ of Christmas.
*Please note that I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press in exchange for an unbiased review...