Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Greatest Gift

   He shattered the space between heaven and earth and came naked and breakable for you in a creche. Then He lay naked and broken by you on a Cross. If He gave you His Son to save you, will He not give anything?

   Many of you will recognize Ann Voskamp's name in connection to her books The Broken Way and one of my all time favourite reads, One Thousand Gifts. This book, The Greatest Gift, is her invitation to a deep and meaningful Advent season. Ann's poetic and lyrical prose lends itself beautifully to this hope-filled time of year. Her daily readings follow the Jesse Tree tradition of exploring Jesus' genealogy, after the prophecy of Isaiah 11, and she includes a link to download and print Jesse Tree ornaments for the tree to follow the readings.

    There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
    And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

   With each Old Testament character, from Joseph to Ruth to Rahab to Abraham, Ann reaches into her reader's hearts to expose our hopes, fears, and burdens during the pre-Christmas season that is supposed to be filled with joy, but is often shadowed by the hardships we all face. Her daily readings not only allow these painful feelings but encourage us to dig deep into our souls and discover what God truly has in store for us during Advent. The human story, outlined in Jesus' family tree, is one of heartbreak, sin, and beautiful dependence on God through weakness. Ann allows us to experience the same, guilt free, to grow closer to God this Christmas. As she says in her book, "The places where we're torn to pieces can be thin places where we touch the peace of God."

   I love this book and I love Ann Voskamp. Her style of write, brimming with poetry in every line, as well as her fearless plumbing of the depths of the soul, draw me in every time. This book gives me the wonderful happy thrills you only get when reading a rare and special book. Whatever kind of Christmas season you're approaching - one of loss, pain, joy or celebration - this book will draw you deep into the Gospel story and the heart of God.

   Stars will come in the night sky, shimmer somewhere. Advent will keep coming, this love story that never stops coming. Love like this could make us wonder. Somewhere, carols play.


   For more information on The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp, visit our website here.

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