19
Nov
08

Advent is Approaching

Palestine,4 B.C. A shepherd boy shivers against the cold of night — lost, alone, surrounded by jackals. Where could they be, he wonders again of his family. Where are you, Father? I’m sorry I got mad…
After running away from his father’s tents in a moment of anger, ten-year-old Jotham has lost his way, and his family. As he journeys through Palestine in search of his nomadic home, Jotham is helped by a fool, a priest, a zealot and a wise man. Chased by a gang of thieves, thrown from one “foster parent” to another, Jotham slowly discovers the miracle of the first Christmas, and some miraculous things about his own life and his own family…

Growing up and for years in my own family, we didn’t really do anything formal or structured for Advent (the weeks leading up to Christmas). It was more or less a time of fun and anticipation. Sadly, we had bought into the secular side of things and tried to throw in the spiritual. We were so involved in Christmas programs and projects that those things became the spiritual emphasis and we didn’t make a concentrated effort to focus on the real anticipation of Advent: anticipating celebrating the birth of the Messiah vs. anticipating opening gifts. Thus there was always a let-down after Christmas day.

Several years ago, my wife came across this book, Jotham’s Journey , that changed our perspective on Advent.

jothams-journeyIt is an exciting story about a boy and his adventures after being separated from his family, which ultimately lead him through death-defying obstacles, narrow escapes from evil villains, amazing encounters with famous characters of faith all the way to Bethlehem. Written as a devotional for parents to read to their children during Advent, Jotham’s Journey unfolds day by day until the exciting climax on Christmas Day. Each day’s installment of the story is followed by a short devotional which will challenge your family to share in Jotham’s discoveries.

Each evening, during the Advent season, we light our Advent candles and read a chapter and share some insight and questions to ponder. Every day the story ends with a cliff-hanger which causes our kids to beg to read “just one more.” The love it, I love it! If you have never done anything consistent as far as a family devotional is concerned, this is a great, easy way to start. If our schedule causes us to miss one night, then we read two the next night. It has helped draw our family into, and kept our focus on, the true meaning of the season more than anything.

There are two additional books in the trilogy, which have been out of print, but will be available next year. These two books, Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels, all intersect with Jotham’s story. They enable you to have a three year rotation of these Advent stories. We have all three and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

We will have a limited number of the Jotham’s Journey books available at The Ridge in our resource center. Or you can order one HERE. You’ll need to get one soon, however. Advent begins November 30th!

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