What is a better-than-anything Christmas? Turkey and all the trimmings? Family? Nativities and Christmas carols? Perhaps it is all these things, but no one ever says that “busy” makes a better-than-anything Christmas. Yet, busyness seems to be what underpins so many of the things we find ourselves doing in this season. And, in a world where Christmas is more commercialised than ever before, it is all too easy for the Christian message to drown in the noise of it all.
Finding fresh, helpful devotional material can feel like a chore … Barbara Reaoch’s series of Christmas advent devotionals is a Godsend.
What then of Christian parents who long to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus? Daily Bible readings with our children is not an easy achievement at the best of times. Bring in the busyness of the Christmas season and it can feel near impossible to carve out the time and impetus to teach our kids from God’s Word. And what do we read? What material do we use? What will teach, encourage and grow our children in age-appropriate understanding? What if we don’t know how to explain difficult concepts to them? Where do we begin?
If these are your questions, you’re not alone. Even in families where the Bible is front and centre of Christmas traditions, finding fresh, helpful devotional material can feel like a chore. Which is why Barbara Reaoch’s series of Christmas advent devotionals is a Godsend.
Theological Depth for Children
A grandmother herself, Barbara began writing devotional material for her grandchildren as a way to stay connected with them and to teach them Biblical truth from across the ocean. With her background as Director of the Children’s Division of Bible Study Fellowship International, Barbara brings theological depth to children in a clear, engaging manner.
This year, Barbara’s third Christmas devotional – A Better Than Anything Christmas (The Good Book Company, 2020)—focuses on who Jesus is and why He came to save, reminding us that Jesus is what makes Christmas so special.
Starting on December 1st and ending on Christmas day, each day requires no preparation from parents. Questions are geared towards older and younger kids, clearly marked with age-specific stars. Each entry includes four sections: Explore, Explain, Engage, Enter In.
- Explore: a small chunk of Scripture with a couple of clear questions unpacking the essence of the text.
- Explain: a clear explanation summarising the text and how it points to Jesus.
- Engage: two more questions, aimed at older children, encourages them to see how Jesus intersects with their lives and stimulates deeper discussion.
- Enter in: an opportunity to pray with a clear, short prayer that draws from what was learned that day.
Space is provided to write answers and a full page per day is devoted to a drawing or journaling space, with a large “Jesus Is …” statement that reflects the essence of the day’s lesson. Families are encouraged to use the space to respond to what God has taught them that day. For kids who may need some encouragement, a few ideas are jotted down at the bottom of the page.
For folk who may be unfamiliar with this style of devotional material, Barbara has included a “Before you Start” section, clearly outlining how to engage with the material. She includes explanations of useful Bible words and a web link to the answers. This, I think, is invaluable—especially for parents who are new to the Christian faith and are learning alongside their children.
Available from October 1st, 2020 through leading booksellers, A Better Than Anything Christmas is one of those gifts that should be bought in twos – one to use with your own family and one to gift another family.
To find out more about Barbara and her books, listen to her chat to TGC Australia’s podcast co-host, Taryn Hayes on The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women or read the review of her previous advent devotional: A Jesus Christmas.