As a mom of young children, I’ve seen my share of family devotional books. I’m so grateful for godly men and women who create tools God uses to grow families.
But one thing I’ve noticed about so many of these books is that they can be…
At least for me and my husband.
I’m not trying to be self-centered. It’s not that we aren’t willing to spend time on our kids’ spiritual understanding, even if we don’t take away something new ourselves.
I just wonder…is it possible to find a devotional that manages to offer depth for parents and manageable truth for kids?
I’m pleased to tell you that even though finding such a book is rare, it is possible. Scott and Sarah Nichols have managed to do just that in a way that will leave your entire family refreshed in your spirit and nurtured in your faith.
More Than a Holiday invites you to take a twenty-five day journey through the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. The authors begin by laying the foundation of faith, presenting historical resources which reinforce the Gospel accounts. The topics covered throughout the book are broad – prophecies fulfilled; time frame of Jesus’ birth; Anna and Simeon; the events surrounding John the Baptist’s birth and ministry; the census; the angels; the shepherds; the wise men; an in-depth look at Mary and Joseph; Jesus’ character and ministry; and the full salvation plan.
My favorite part of each day’s devotional is the introductory background section for parents that offers rich theological truths with Scriptural support and historical context.
I have to be honest…I definitely don’t know it all, but I know quite a bit about the Bible. Not because I’m awesome or exceptional, but because I have an awesome heritage and have been granted exceptional opportunities. Between faithful church attendance my whole life, thirteen years in a Christian school, and countless hours spent in personal study, how could I not have a lot of Bible knowledge rattling around in my brain?
But I learned things from More Than a Holiday. Cool things. Things that made me say, “Wow.” Things I couldn’t wait to pass on to my kids. I’ll be the first to admit that I still have lots to learn, but it’s unusual for me to learn things like this from a family devotional.
The family segment each begins with suggested Bible reading, followed by a devotional reading which is rooted in the Bible but also strongly connected to personal application. The authors also pose several questions following each devotional, which encourage families to internalize the truths learned and consider their relevance to each individual’s life.
I’m a big fan of personal application. After all, if biblical truth doesn’t make a difference in my life, what’s the point? The Bible is supposed to make a difference, and More Than a Holiday does a remarkable job guiding parents in making truth relevant for kids.
A short prayer summarizing the day’s theme follows the discussion time, and the day is rounded off with several suggested activities. I was particularly impressed with the quality of activities suggested – they are fresh and fun, but still effective in their purpose of enriching the Bible lesson. They are purposeful, not just fluffy extras. The authors also suggest extra reading resources, as well as songs the family can sing together.
One of my favorite parts of the whole book is the simple title of Day 25: “Who is Jesus to You?” For although history has testified of His identity and millions have claimed Him for their own Savior since then, the most important question an individual can answer is the one of Jesus’ significance in his or her own life.
Do you value the truth? As a Christ-follower, I’m sure you do. I have to tell you how much I appreciated this book’s emphasis on truth. Scriptural references are scattered generously throughout the book, and traditionally held beliefs about Christmas are challenged by examining carefully the biblical account. Insights into the original language are presented to clarify the Bible’s intention, in a way that is enlightening but not intimidating.
If you’re looking for a family devotional leading up to your celebration of our Savior’s birth, I highly recommend this one. Can you tell? 🙂 Get more information or pick up your copy here, and then please come back to let me know what you think!