Sunday, November 30, 2014

ADVENT: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

I grew up in a home where we observed Advent in many different ways. My mom was such a creative person. She built life-sized burlap-covered wood figures of the nativity that was set out on our front step every Christmas season. She made large wall banners with verses and artwork that were not only hung in our home, but also used in our church's sanctuary. And, of course, we either read an old-time version of the Christmas story from an antique book or the story directly from the Bible. 
So, it's no surprise that Advent has always been an important part of the Christmas season for me. I have celebrated with my own family over the years in many different ways, from lighting candles to using an advent calender with different readings leading up to Christ's birth. Recently, one of my all-time favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, published a new Advent book called,
 "Unwrapping the Greatest Gift". 
I got so excited when I saw this book! 
"Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift(2013), Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help family members of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme."
This special edition is beautifully illustrated. It can serve as a precious guide to help recapture the sacredness of the Advent season and to help the entire family understand and celebrate the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah.

This is such a beautiful and lovely book for a family to go through at Christmas. Discussing important life lessons and key bible stories, this will definitely provide a deeper and more real understanding of God, Jesus and the Gospel for all ages. 

Each day has a scripture reading, a short devotional, thoughts to discuss and family activities. Not only that, but when you buy the book, you get access to ornaments for your family’s advent tree. So yes, this is wonderful book to add to your family traditions!" 
 - See more at: Here

Ann discusses her new book in this interview below...

Here is another option Ann offers on her Youtube channel...Making a Jesse Tree. Check it out.

Ann Voskamp: Unwrapping a Jesse Tree


And here are some other pages to check out...

Just a bit of information about Ann Voskamp. This woman has been such an inspiration and motivation for me. Her book "One Thousand Gifts" actually led me to start my own blog, as well as getting me through some difficult times in my own life. Her writing is so real and her words touch all who read them to the core of the  heart! Below is a family picture.        

The Voskamps live with their 6 children in Ontario on a large pig/crop farm. (See article: Portrait of an Authoress)  Her sweet husband, whom she lovingly calls "the farmer", has built her a wee writing hut in their backyard. I love the picture below, which shows, even as she writes, her children are always nearby...dangling feet and all!

Other things about Ann:
Speaking Engagements:
"We all experience tragedy, heartache and disappointment in life. For New York Times bestselling author Ann Voskamp, that moment came at the beginning, her first memory, when she witnessed her sister's death in a horrific accident. Where is God when life goes dark? What in the world, in all this world, is grace? How do we Biblically lament the losses we all inevitably face? Every breath is always this battle between grudgery and gratitude—how do we win joy? With characteristic wit and eloquence, Ann shares how to push through pain so you can authentically "catch God in the moment" and spend each day in the rest and embrace of His grace." (This video of Ann, speaking about her life and experiences that lead her to write, is a bit long, but SO worth watching. The sound is off from the video, so just sit back and listen to her speak, as watching may throw your concentration off. At least it did for me.)

Ann's Blog, other books, and pages:
Here are other books and online connections Ann has available.
Other books


  1. I love Ann Voskamp to and after reading her book One Thousand Gifts, I knew I needed to count my own blessings as a way to bless myself and others. It has been life changing. I went through Ann's The Greatest Gift last year during Advent but do not have the new book. I pray you will be blessed be her words and all God is doing through you to prepare you this Advent. Blessed you linked up with The Weekend Brew.

    1. I agree! She is an amazing woman of God and gifted writer! Thank you for your uplifting thoughts and prayers. May you also have a season of blessings and a deeper understanding of our heritage in the family of God!

  2. Ann opened up my heart a few years ago to gratitude, and what the true meaning is of having a thankful heart. I am excited to be welcoming Jesus through reading The Greatest Gift this Advent. Thank you for linking up at The Weekend Brew!

    1. I agree, Barbie! Her books and Advent stories bring the story of all times to life!! Have a blessed Christmas season.

  3. Just moments ago I was searching for a new book to read in my book club and I thought of Ann's One Thousand Gifts. Can you believe that I've NEVER read it?? Then, I came to your blog and here you are, writing about her!! Do you think that is confirmation? :)

    Enjoy Advent, Ann! It is such a wonderful prelude to Christmas as we prepare our hearts for the coming Savior!

    Blessings, Joan

    1. Wow! I think you may have something there, Joan! :) It's time to finally read what so many people have been talking about. You truly will be changed by her book! May you also experience the true meaning of Advent and Christmas!!

  4. I have given away several copies of Ann's book, and also have never read it for myself. I have one I must find and read. Thank you for sharing your awesome post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

    1. What a great gift idea, Hazel! Why don't you collaborate with Joan and read it at the same time! :) Thanks you for hosting!

  5. I'm going through Ann's The Greatest Gift for the second year and this year Unwrapping the gift as well!

    1. Sweet! That's the nice thing about these can re-read them every year and enjoy Advent over and over through Ann's writings! Enjoy! :)

  6. We are doing this Advent book together every night at dinner and we love it!


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