December is approaching rapidly – and so is Advent. With it will come many inevitable distractions, competing for our time and attention in the hectic run up to Christmas. So I want to tell you about a wonderful new book called ‘Redeeming Advent’, which will help you find space and stillness in the midst of the crazy busyness.
It’s been written by my friend, Lucy Rycroft, who blogs over at The Hope-Filled Family, about faith, parenting and adoption. It was published in October, and the exciting news is that she has provided a free signed copy of the book for one of my regular readers to win! (Please see below for details of how to enter.)
In theory, Advent is meant to be a season of penitence and fasting, much like Lent; a time for crying out to God for peace, reconciliation and mercy in our hurting world. It’s designed to be a season for remembering – because Jesus has come – and a season for anticipating – because Jesus will come again, something which should give us hope in the midst of a world full of pain and suffering, strife and division, despair and fear.
In reality, Advent gets buried by endless to do lists, reams of wrapping paper, twinkly lights, tinsel, baubles, mince pies, nativity plays, carol singing, plastic tat, over-indulgent eating, excitable children … and a whole heap of stress, exhaustion and panic. The real reason for the season can easily get lost in it all.
Which is where ‘Redeeming Advent’ comes in!
‘Redeeming Advent’ is a devotional book containing daily reflections, in which Lucy helps her readers draw closer to God – not despite, but through, all the activities and festivities of Advent. Her approach is open, honest and candid. Her tone is warm, lighthearted and laugh-out-loud funny. Her suggestions are wise, helpful and hugely practical.
Each day, Lucy brings fresh perspectives on familiar Bible passages, using amusing anecdotes and observations, all of them drawn from her real life experiences during the headlong rush towards Christmas. Each day, she nourishes her readers with deep truths, challenges them with thought-provoking questions, and provides a healthy dose of humour. Each day, she shatters the illusion of Pinterest perfection – and puts the focus firmly on Jesus in the midst of all the pre-Christmas chaos.
More than anything, ‘Redeeming Advent’ is a book that is down-to-earth and real – acknowledging that, even in the midst of the joy of celebrating Jesus’ coming, we’re not immune to grief and disappointment. For example, at one point in the book, reflecting on being an adoptive parent of young twin boys, Lucy says this:
“Advent, like adoption, tells us that the tragedies of this life are not supposed to bring us down, but to make us look up, waiting and hoping more desperately for a future in which destruction, lies, corruption, ill-health and death don’t exist.“
As the Bible declares, describing Jesus, in John 1 verse 5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it“.
Without Jesus, there would be no Advent.
But with Jesus, there is light, life and hope.
Lucy has kindly provided a free signed copy of ‘Redeeming Advent’ for me to give away to one of my blog readers!
To enter, please subscribe to my blog. If you are already signed up, simply comment on this post, by sharing a thought about Advent, perhaps a favourite tradition or a tried-and-tested coping strategy or simply a memorable moment. I’ll then include you in the draw. (UK residents only please.) The deadline to sign up and comment is Thursday 21 November – I’ll choose a winner on Friday 22 November.
Photo from Unsplash