Asheritah Ciuciu helps readers find joy in the Christmas season through her Advent Devotional Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.

Many of us worry about the business of the holiday season, taxes, politics, the death of loved ones and more. Ciuciu reminds us that Jesus goes before us in all things as the “Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25):

“Jesus’ historical resurrection gives us hope both for today and for the future. Death is defeated as He transitions us from temporal lift to eternal. We live the lives of the resurrected.”

The introduction asks the question “Why Celebrate Advent?” and the author admits that it’s not something she grew up doing. Yet, she finds beauty in embracing an age-old tradition of celebrating the first coming of Jesus while anticipating his second.

“We all suffer from soul amnesia, forgetting who God is and what He has done for us from one day to the next. Like you, I too must remind myself each year who Jesus is and why His birth is so miraculous—not because my mind doesn’t know but because my heart ceased to be amazed,” write Ciuciu.

The book has 5 main sections: (1) Week 1—hope, (2) Week 2—preparation, (3) Week 3—Joy, (4) Week 4—Love, and (5) Christmas. With the exception of “Christmas,” each section contains suggested Scripture passages to read, devotional thoughts for five days of the week, and recommended family activities.

Not all activities will be applicable for each family, so pick and choose what works best. Ciuciu suggests things like bake cookies for your mail carrier, decorate your church for Christmas, act out the nativity, memorize a Christmas verse, make snow angels (not happening any time soon in Texas, right?), etc.

The book is very simple, but in-depth enough that most Christians will likely find an encouraging take away. Though preferable, it’s not necessary to go through the whole book. One could perhaps just choose some of the suggested activities or read selected portions. Find a topic that speaks to you and let your hearts be encouraged.

(This book was provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

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