Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A family Celebration of Christmas
Last year during the month of December, I read Ann Voskamp’s book, The Greatest Gift. I really enjoyed reading it as Ann beautifully wove together the stories of the Bible to remind us that the Christmas story does not stand by itself, but is part of the plan of God that had been unfolding for thousands of years. You can find my review here if you are interested. This year I received Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A family Celebration of Christmas, by Ann Voskamp, as a birthday present, and I’m really looking forward to using it with my family.
At the beginning of this large and wonderfully illustrated book, you’ll find instructions for how to purchase or print ornaments for your Jesse Tree. There is an ornament for each Bible story, and the purpose of using them is “to come to the Christmas tree through the family tree of Christ”.
We’ll probably start reading our book in mid-November, or else we might not have time to get to all 25 readings in the book. The reading for each day begins with a scripture passage, followed by Ann’s thoughts on how that passage connects to the story of the Bible as a whole, to Christmas, and ultimately to us.
At the end of each day’s reading there are discussion questions, and I will warn you that these are not “fact recall” “what was the name of the blind man?” type questions. These are heavy duty, actually requires thought to answer questions! (ex: Have you ever felt God holding you up in a flood? When? What would it look like for you to trust God with your whole heart today?) While preschoolers are sure to enjoy the illustrations and the Bible story “review”, elementary aged children are more likely to understand how each Bible story “connects” in the way Ann is describing. If you’ve ever read The Jesus Storybook Bible, I think you’ll find some similarities.
Following the discussion questions you’ll find some suggestions for family activities based on the day’s reading. Some of them are pretty simple, like making a list of ways that God has provided for you, and could be done right after you finish reading. Others are more complicated, like making something colorful to bring to a neighbor. It wouldn’t hurt to read ahead a little so you have the materials ready for any activity you decide to do.
Whether you choose this resource or a different one, I hope that you will be intentional about how you encourage your family to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year.