Looking for a book to deepen and enrich your Advent experience? You need to check this one out!
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (2017) is written by Asheritah Ciuciu and is published by Moody Publishers. Ciuciu is an author, speaker, and blogger. She runs a website to encourage, equip, and resource followers of Jesus at www.onethingalone.com. Her other books include: Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction, Quiet Time for Busy Women, and Walking with God.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is meant to be a personal daily devotional or one that can be used by a whole family to go through together. The book begins with an excellent brief explanation of what Advent is and why observing it can be such a powerful time of spiritual growth.
The book is divided into the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, and the themes are: Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love. Each week begins with what is called an “Advent Celebration” (there is also one for Christmas Day). This is essentially a guide for a personal experience or a family / small group gathering where prayers are said, scripture is read, questions are discussed, and a Christmas song in sung. Think an intimate “church gathering” in your home. [Supplemental materials for these celebration experiences can be found at www.onethingalone.com.]
Then after the “Advent Celebration”, there are five daily readings, each with a scripture, a challenge, a prayer, and additional scriptures for further study. The readings are excellent, not shallow or fluffy, and the challenges are outstanding. The challenges push you to not just simply read about who God is or what it means to follow Jesus, but to then have that move from your head to your heart and ultimately to how you live out your faith.
Finally at the end of each week there are a number of suggested activities to live out the theme of the week with concrete action. These activities are ones that can be done solo or with a whole family or group of friends. These suggestions are thoughtful, fun, practical, Christmas themed, and easily done in the community you live in. [Bonus content and additional resources for these activities can be found at www.onethingalone.com.]
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is a beautiful book, both physically and in its content. The readings are rich, the call to action is strong and practical, and without question it will add to your Advent experience.