Are you starting to think about Christmas yet? The presents, the tree, the family, the food… all of the organising…the busyness?! Or, perhaps you haven’t even begun to think about it yet? Either way I’d love to share with you a book for that time of preparation, for Advent. A book to help prepare your heart for Christmas and to help you find moments of pause and focus in what can so often be such a busy season. Woah, this is risking me getting seriously cheesy, maybe it’s the thought of Christmas… what has happened to me? I used to be such a Grinch! Back to the book…
It’s called Redeeming Advent and it is by the wonderful Lucy Rycroft. Lucy is a blogger, author, Mum and so much more. I got to know her through social media and she’s featured in an honest conversation here on my blog and I’ve featured on hers as part of her post, ‘How do you cope with two or more children?’.
I had the pleasure of getting to read Redeeming Advent before it came out and also to ask Lucy a few questions about it. Here’s what Lucy shared with me.
What is the book? Why did you write it?
Redeeming Advent is a 24-day devotional for busy people to use in December. It came about because although I’d tried using other Advent devotionals, my good intentions always ended up collapsing a week or two into December!
I wanted to write something which would take people from their busy December days – which, if they’re anything like me, are often not very spiritually-focused – into a reflection on what God’s Word might be saying to them as they prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
How do you hope people will use it?
Obviously I hope people will use it every day and that they will want to come back to it daily, that it wouldn’t be a chore to do so. It’s written in a relaxed, easy-to-read style, with humour sprinkled in – accessibility was forefront in my mind as I was writing it.
But really it doesn’t matter if people skip this day or that, if they read it all in one go or spread out, or even if they read it in May! What’s important is that people use it to draw closer to Jesus. That’s the point of the book.
What’s your favourite thing about the Christmas season?
I’m a bit of a sucker for Christmas generally – I love it all! The lights, the food, the socialising, the carols, the cheesy Christmas pop, the Nativity plays, the decorations, you name it.
Sometimes Christians speak or act as if you can’t enjoy the secular ‘trimmings’ of Christmas – whilst others go in head-first with the secular stuff, and Jesus is nearly missed out altogether.
Lots of my reflections in the book are about how we can ‘redeem’ our festivities in a way that honours Christ as our King and Saviour. I like to think God enjoys a bit of Slade and George Michael too!
I believe that our desire to come together as a culture and be positive about a shared interest is totally God-given. Lots of people feel celebratory around Christmastime, but it’s up to us as Christ-followers to show the world something to celebrate – something far deeper and richer than simply the end of the year, or the coming of snow (if you’re lucky).
What do you think Advent will look like this year for you?
I’m hoping for a bit of a rest, if I’m honest, after a busy season launching this book…but, realistically, I know that won’t be the case!
I’m Chair of my children’s school PTA, so although I’ve stepped down from organising the Christmas Fair this year due to the book (and am very grateful for my supportive committee who’ve taken it on!), I know I will still be heavily involved in that and other Advent events at school and at church.
Then it will be a case of trying to manage my children’s emotions and expectations throughout the month – two of our children are adopted, which means they struggle in different ways with changes to routine. I guess we’ll be doing a lot of low-level activities at home after school, trying to keep things calm and stable for them, but many of these will be themed around what we’re celebrating – perhaps reading one of our Christmas storybooks together, or playing with our Playmobil Nativity set.
And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have every intention of keeping up with an Advent devotional this year…
Redeeming Advent is written in such a wonderfully light way. As I started reading I felt that my busyness was understood by Lucy and I felt her desire to find focus and to draw closer to Jesus. I will admit I am not normally a fan of books which need to be read daily, I always feel guilty when I come back too late and can’t catch up however, as Lucy says, this book really could be read anytime and the joy is that even if you miss a day or two it really doesn’t matter. I hope that you will enjoy it and that it will help you draw nearer to Jesus in this Advent season.
If you want to connect with Lucy you can find her over at Desertmum, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She has also created a free ebook, called ’30 Ways to Pursue God through the Exhaustion of Parenthood’, which you can get here.