December book review <3

If you remember, I decided to actually read or reread from our stack of Christmas/Advent devotionals this year. I reviewed some at the end of November and managed to finish three more over the month of December.

I also was working on two others but simply didn’t finish them so maybe next year, right?

Here are my thoughts on the stack above.

The first one, Be Still and Be Blessed was my daily devotional reading for 2022. I am counting it as finished in December. As you know if you read here much, my friend Lisa has selected a devotional for me to read every year for soooo many years and she is spot on every year.

This one is geared towards mothers, and while some days may seem pointed toward younger than me moms who are currently in the season of child-rearing in the home, each day spoke to me.

Perhaps because we have hands on every week with our grands or perhaps because once a mom, our hearts are just geared towards nurturing and encouraging and caring for our families no matter where they are in life; the writings proved encouraging, convicting and reassuring to my soul.

The author’s name is difficult to find – in small print under the publishing information. Her name is Natasha Marcellus. The book is published by Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC. I highly recommend it for any moms out there.

Moving down the stack, we have From Heaven by A. W. Tozer. It is a 28 day devotion for advent. I would read this in the evening. My toes hurt every night. If you know Tozer, he pulls no punches and calls us all to a higher walk.

He made me question many times my posts about Christmas memories. I feared I was feeding you fluff…sigh.

He made me dig deeper and find the Christ of Christmas in my remembering and in our new making of memories. He daily reminded me that even as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we are looking forward with expectation to His return.

Here is one of his classic quotes from Day 21:

“What is your concept of Jesus Christ, my brother? If the ‘ten-cent-store Jesus’ that is being preached by a lot of men, the plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice and is pictured as a soft and pliable friend to everybody – if He is the only Christ there is, then we might as well close our books and bar our doors, and make a bakery or garage out of this church!”

A. W. Tozer, From Heaven,Moody Publishing 2016. pg 95

See what I mean?

He was a good way to keep me grounded and Christ-centered this holiday season. So of course I recommend this one to everyone!

The third in the stack is also a keeper: Immanuel, Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season by Ann Spangler.

This is not my first read-trough of this one, but I learned so much again on this second go round. I started it in November as it is six weeks of study. There are six names that each have a five day plan for exploring.

I used this as an addition to my morning devotions and especially liked the way I could use seven days to cover the five day plan during such a busy time of year.

Names include Lord, Jesus the Savior, Immanuel, Child, King and Bright Morning Star. Her writing really added depth to my understanding of each of these names. Near the end of the book she shared how one year she decided to truly experience Advent without all the Christmas trimmings.

Like they did many years ago, the tree would not go up until Christmas Eve; they would not participate in the traditional parts of Christmas beyond reading and preparing their hearts for the coming of the actual day of celebration. It is hard to explain and she acknowledges it was a challenge for her children, but here are the words that cut to my heart:

“For my part, I made no superhuman efforts to observe the season, but simply made sure I finished most of my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. Then I prayed a little more. In the morning and evening I read Scriptures that expressed a longing for Messiah, for peace on earth, for captives to be set free, for the lion and lamb to lie down together. I read about the Bright Morning Star and the Light of the World. And I read the news – the kidnappings, the beheadings, the battles, the political wrangling, and the poisoning of a political opponent. I read about a man in a wheelchair who had frozen to death in my city because of people’s carelessness – and I interceded with anguish for Christ to set things right, to bring justice and peace, forgiveness and mercy. I prayed with longing and tears that he would come with his power and his wisdom to reign over us.”

Ann Spangler, Immanuel, Zondervan, 2007. pg 114

Very powerful and I strongly recommend this one to add to your Advent readings.

Lastly I read, The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller. This one I read during the days as a little break in the afternoon or to tote along with me in the car when Russ was driving or perhaps to read when waiting for an appointment.

Each of the 31 days of readings begins with a Scripture reading. Then there is a short (two page) devotional writing, followed by an additional passage to look up and some words to help meditate and ponder that portion of Scripture. Each day ends with a written prayer.

I loved the writing style and thoughts and found it refreshing. So yes…another thumbs up to add to your library or gift someone.

Well, that’s a wrap on this months review.

Would love to hear what you spent your time reading…do tell <3

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