One night long ago, near a small village called Bethlehem, a group of shepherds was guarding a flock of sheep. Shepherding was a job held only by those on the margins of society. Shepherds were usually poor, uneducated, and devoid of any sense of respectability. They were a band of nobodies simply trying to survive. Then the unimaginable happened. A terrifying angel. Tidings of great joy. Skies filled by angelic heralds of a Messiah. God scanned the world and chose a raggedy band of poor shepherds to welcome the birth of His Son.
Making Room in Advent (InterVarsity Press) by Bette Dickinson is a beautifully written and illustrated Advent devotional that celebrates the people and events of the birth of Jesus. The devotion involving the shepherds is just one example of Dickinson’s emphasis on how the story of Jesus, from the very beginning, reveals God’s orientation toward the outcast, the poor, and the seemingly insignificant. From the Annunciation to Jesus’ childhood trip to the Temple, the author selects twenty-five stories that lead us to a greater appreciation for the wonder of Christ’s birth. Each devotion includes an original work of art, a reading with scripture, a question for reflection, and a prayer.
Christmas can be a frantic and busy time of the year. We all feel the pull of distraction from the meaning of Christmas. Making Room in Advent is a wonderful resource designed to help us focus and reflect on the story of Jesus’ birth and what it means for us today. In a sense, are we not all shepherds? Are we not all of humble estate – unworthy recipients of God’s attention and grace? This Christmas, may we do what those poor shepherds did on that dark night long ago. May we, with wonder and humility, bow before the Messiah and worship.
-Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
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