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Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas Hardcover – Unabridged, November 1, 2014
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From the Back Cover
Unwrap the greatest Gift with your family this Advent season!
Person by person, story by story, retrace the lineage of Jesus. Fall in love with Him all over again as you experience God’s plan of salvation for us―from the Garden of Eden to the manger and beyond.
With vivid, full-color illustrations, downloadable ornaments, and moving scenes from the Bible, this book is a gift your whole family can unwrap each day leading up to Christmas.
Each devotion includes the following:
- Scripture readings to go along with each story
- Questions and activities to engage the entire family
- Beautiful illustrations to further enhance each reading
About the Author
Ann Voskamp is wife of one good farmer, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of New York Times bestsellers, The Greatest Gift and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today, and a partner with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children, Ann's a regular loser of library books, usually has a sink full of soaking pots, sees empty laundry baskets rarer than a blue moon, and believes that the sky and fresh mercy over the farm is large and all is grace. Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web, has become a daily well for the weary and soul-thirsty.
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1) Foremost, she is interposing her own interpretation of Scripture. In many cases, it appears to be erroneous. For instance, we read about the flood tonight. There was no mention of God's anger. It was all about love. I know, I know--I haven't read the entire book, but after browsing it, I just see more the same--lots of commentary and summation of Scripture. And, here's the alarming part--she mixes her words with words from Scripture, and then just puts a reference at the end. So, one (particularly kids) does not know which is which.
2) Verbose to the max. Everyone--including my literature-loving self--was distracted within a minute of this reading. The sentence structure is overly complex, as if she's trying too hard to be poetic. It was not very engaging.
If you're looking for something that solely seeks the truths of Scripture while engaging little ones, you will find more satisfaction in this humble, yet superbly done book: http://www.amazon.com/Advent-Jesse-Tree-Devotions-Christmas-ebook/dp/B009K6DLU6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417744712&sr=8-1&keywords=the+advent+jesse+tree+dean+lambert
My first problem with the book is minor, though it is written to the whole family, most times it seems like it is written for young children, other times the reading seemed geared for adults, as on page 146: "Tonight we're just raggedy manger stragglers who feel the heaviness of our old raggedy clothes from fighting the long battle with evil and badness. With our raggedy rags, we've tried to polish this dark world into something good enough to win our way to freedom. With our raggedy rags, we've tried to patch together our own ropes to somehow climb to freedom. With our raggedy rags, we've tried to disguise ourselves as someone else, as someone better, as someone bigger, thinking we could sneak our way to freedom and back to God." Since most of the book seems written in language appropriate for my young child, the instances of speaking to an adult or older child seem a bit jarring. Not a deal breaker, it just seems strange when coupled with the children's book illustrations and sentences like this one, "The whole blue marble of the world spins happy right now with the gladness of His love."
My biggest problem with the book is the interpretation of Scripture that is on page 145, the reading meant for Christmas Eve, it says that the battle resulting in Satan being hurled to earth (Rev 12:7-12) took place on the night of Jesus' birth. I have never heard that interpretation and I was even unable to find that interpretation during a Google search and cursury search of commentaries. Why, oh why, would Ann put a belief in her book that is not widely held? How did this get past the publisher? And even if it were a widely held belief, why mention Satan on Christmas Eve? It ruins it for me, so very disappointed. "But remember how there is always more happening than we could see. God's letter to us, the Bible, tells us that high, high up in the heavens, above the manger, behind the velvet curtain of silent stars, an all-out war flashed angry. Armies of evil exploded in a raging battle against God, the Father-King of the universe. In heaven, when Jesus was born, it wasn't a silent night; it was a cosmic war spinning across space. All of earth held its desperate, wild breath. Jesus came for you, warring against the darkness to win you back to Him. the evil enemy of God, Satan, who tried to hold us all captive after our sinful fall in the Garden of Eden, fell like lightning from heaven - fell out of the sky in a heap."
I'm disappointed, and unsure at this point if I will even use the book. Maybe I'll just mark over page 145.
The historical pieces have appealed to them more as they've gotten older and now they experience it from that new perspective. As a parent, I've treasured the time reading with my children more than I can say. I've gotten a lot out of Ann's other works as well. Our kids practice giving thanks (which builds gratitude and joy) when things aren't going their way- and it banishes the "not fair" and the "mine" monsters from our home.
As a Children's Pastor, I can't recommend enough the importance of intentionally creating space for your kids -throughout the year- to ask questions, work through their doubts (a doubt is an opportunity to grow in faith!) and to help them begin to grasp the depths of God's love for them.