Advent Reading: Prepare Him Room (Marty Machowski) and A Better December (Steven Estes)

~ About the Book ~

Title:  Prepare Him Room
Author:  Marty Machowski

Make Room for a New Christmas Tradition.

Christmas traditions become a treasured part of a family’s heritage, passed down from generation to generation. This brand new, four-week devotional guides your family on an unforgettable advent journey, exploring some of the most wonderful prophecies in the Bible and how God fulfills them in Christ. From Bible devotions which tell the Christmas story through the eyes of the prophets to an original Christmas short story called “Bartimaeus,” Prepare Him Room helps you build family Christmas traditions around Christ. The memorable and meaningful activities, songs, and stories of Prepare Him Room will become the fabric of your family’s Christmas memories. So gather them to watch the amazing gospel story unfold every December for generations to come!

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Review ~

If you’re looking for an Advent resource that will bring meaning and understanding to children through activities and discussions, look no further. What’s more, it sets the bar at an achievable three devotionals per week! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets discouraged by how easy it is to fall behind with a daily plan!)

Each week of this family Advent devotional looks at three different aspects of the Christmas story. The first devotion for each week looks at a prophecy (or promise) of a Saviour to come given by God in the Old Testament, the second discusses one of the ways in which Jesus’ birth or ministry was announced, and the third discusses the way in which the prophecy from the first devotion for the week was fulfilled.

For each of these devotionals there are simple warm up activities that engage children’s attention in a relevant way. For example, the devotional discussing how God proves who he is begins by looking at a driver’s licence and discussing how we prove who we are. A Bible reading on the devotional theme is followed by a short narrative (three or four paragraphs) that encourages children to picture the scene and make an emotional connection with the concept being discussed, and there are suggestions for discussion points,prayers, and songs to conclude each devotion.

To cap it all off, the story of Bartimaeus, divided into four parts to correspond with the end of each week’s devotions, illustrates what it means to be adopted into God’s family.This is a family devotional that’s impressive for the solid foundation it lays in small, manageable portions, and I can’t wait to share in its fruit.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Book ~

Title:  A Better December
Author:  Steven Estes

A Christmas Gift Book.

Know someone FRAZZLED or SAD this Christmas? A Better December by Steve Estes applies Solomon’s Proverbs to holiday stresses. Playful and tiny, this illustrated work would be a good gift for your unbelieving friends as it gently introduces Jesus during a month when they are more receptive.

Combining true, heart-warming stories with pen-and-ink illustrations, the book uncovers and answers our December longings. Beginning with bite-sized chapters of Solomon’s advice to frazzled, lonely people at Christmas, Steven Estes presents the ancient sage as penning his blockbuster Proverbs to help future readers through holiday stress and even sadness. Meant to be shared with all who long for a better December, it points the way to true comfort and a true home. A Better December is an ideal gift book for non-Christian friends and neighbors with a gradual, non-threatening introduction to the gospel.

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Review ~

Proverbs isn’t the first book of the Bible to come to mind when I think of Christmas, but after reading this little book, that’s going to change. Steve Estes may take a light-hearted approach as he discusses the ways in which Solomon’s “market research nailed exactly what future readers would need come December,” but there is a serious message behind the humour: Christmas has a gotten a little out of hand, and if we go back to the book of Proverbs, we can see why.

It’s a quick read—the introduction consists of two sentences: “The longer I live, the more I like short books. Here’s one.” But it is all the more effective for its succinctness. The author takes topics like gifts, children, perfectionism, disappointment, and so on, paints the reader a typical Christmas scenario (often with that deft touch of exaggeration that makes you laugh and wince at the same time because it’s actually closer to the truth than you would like to admit), and then gives us Solomon’s take on the topic. For example, on the topic of gifts, he begins thus:

Deep inside your head, voices whisper:

Your son will flunk science and his brain will atrophy into egg whites unless he gets the Every Kid’s Quasar Wave Radio Telescope for his bedroom, scanning for life on other planets—“able to hear a pin drop from six billion light years.”

We all know the lure of shiny new things that promise untold joy (and educational benefits), but Estes reminds us that Solomon said:

Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man. (Prov. 27:20)

Of course, he shares Solomon’s wisdom as well as his warnings, but I’ll leave you to discover the wisdom for yourself.

This is a refreshing, humorous little gem that’s full of the kind of common sense that seems to fly up and out of the chimney as we rush around to create the “perfect” Christmas. Keep it on hand, and next time you need to stop and breathe into your brown paper bag, read a couple of pages. I promise it will help. You may even end up doing away with the brown paper bag for good!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.