'This post was originally published in Nov 2015. It was updated in December 2018 to include updated information and links to resources.'
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Advent in Narnia.....Reflections for the Season
Like so many others, I grew up reading and loving the adventure, mystery and excitement of the Narnia series. So a Christmas season devotional based on these books, and more particularly 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' was sure to interest and delight. Certainly, the cold winter landscape of Narnia with the people watching and looking for a king is the perfect parallel for the Christmas story.
I did, however, feel a small degree of reservation before I opened the pages of this book; well, to be precise, flipped open the e-pages on my iPad. (It's not exactly the same, is it?) But I wondered if the readings would be more about the Narnia books and less about the Saviour.
I was reassured by Heidi Haverkamp's comment, "My purpose in writing this book is not to help you know Narnia better but to know God better.... I hope that by spending a little time in Narnia, this Advent, you will get to know Aslan- and Jesus Christ- better, and to prepare for Jesus' birth at Christmas all the more richly for it."
I particularly liked the introduction to this series. The opening reading reminds us of our need for Jesus. He alone can lead us beyond the shadows of our current lives through the doorway to love and life. It's a great starting position for this book of Christmas devotions.
"My purpose in writing this book is not to help you know Narnia better but to know God better.... I hope that by spending a little time in Narnia, this Advent, you will get to know Aslan- and Jesus Christ- better, and to prepare for Jesus' birth at Christmas all the more richly for it."
You'll find daily devotions with titles like, 'A Great Light', 'Turkish Delight,' 'The Lamppost,' and the 'Full Armour of God.' If you are familiar with the Narnia stories, I'm sure that these words immediately bring certain scenes from the book to mind. Heidi suggests reading along in the novel to refresh your memory of the story as Narnia sheds new light on the Christmas story. (You could also watch the movie.) Questions for reflection accompany each devotion.
The book also includes resources for churches. There are Small Group questions for discussion or reflection. You'll also find instructions for presenting a church Narnia Night for Families with ideas for decorations, activity stations, costumes, crafts and more, leading into the church Christmas service and prayer. If you're looking for a more meaningful fun Christmas focus for your own family, you could present a simplified Narnia version that would make your Christmas truly memorable.
Whether you know and love Narnia books or have just heard of them, I think you will enjoy this Advent devotional and will wonder anew, this Christmas, 'at the depth of God's love, the power of Christ's grace and totality of his sacrifice.'
I would like to thank Westminster John Knox Press for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Copy provided for personal review through NetGalley.)
Advent in Narnia -by Heidi Haverkamp
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
RRP: $32.00 (Kindle $9.50)
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
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Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Friends with God Story Bible: Why God loves people like me.
Well, yes.... another Bible Story book and I guess you're thinking... 'Hey, I have a Bible Storybook for my kids or grandkids. Why would I need another one?'
So....do your kids need it? This review will help you decide.
5 Simple reasons you need the Friends with God Story Bible- why God loves people like me
When information about another Bible Storybook slid into my Inbox, I wondered whether I needed it, too. After all, three children and eight grandchildren translates into an already bulging bookshelf. Some we've read and enjoyed. Others have well-worn covers, ragged corners and loose pages.
Those are the ones that we've read and re-read over and over. Their vibrant illustrations have grabbed my kids' (and grandkids') attention and excited their imagination. The pages have held stories of a loving God who knows and deeply cares about each one of those young, captured readers. And the words have continued to live in their young hearts and minds. Yes, some of these Bible storybooks have been special.
So, do I (or you) need this new one? I can certainly understand the question.
But then, what if your kids.........
1. ...could actually feel a part of the story?
Friends with God Story Bible is written in the first person. So your kids will hear the story from the protagonist's point of view, with all the emotions that go with that. It's not just a story. It's a recount and it will resonate with your kids in a meaningful way. They will feel connected, involved.
2. ...could hear personal stories of 54+ friends of God?
This isn't just a handful of stories. It's enough for a whole year of exciting reading if you read and learn about one friend of God each week. And extra devotional material is included to help you extend each story beyond the pages of a book.
3. ...could also play Bible games and discover Bible facts
You'll find that this story Bible has an interactive element built in that works in conjunction with an app- IOS or Android. Throughout the Story Bible are special icons- a smiling face. Your kids will have fun finding them, too. Simply download the free app. Then scan the page with the icon. You'll come face to face with friends of God plus unlock interactive games.
4. ...could collect and share digital cards of the Friends of God
Not only does this connected app share more information and games, it enables your kids to win virtual collectible character cards. They'll learn even more entertaining facts about these Bible characters. They'll feel they really know them. And they can even add their own image to create their very own card.
5. ...could grow in their own friendship with God?
They'll hear and share in the amazing stories when God stepped into the picture and everything changed. As they read this book they 'face lions, cross rivers, slay giants and stare into a glittering desert sky, awed by God making impossible promises come true.' And they'll realise that this same God wants to be friends with them, too.
This Friends with God Story Bible is just so much more than just a book of Bible stories. The vibrant illustrations add their own unique quality to the personal stories of these Bible friends. And, you'll discover fun, devotional ideas with real-life activity ideas to connect with family and friends.
You can choose either a hardcover version of the story Bible or download it as a Kindle version.
You can find it here...
Do you have toddlers, little ones under 5? Do you struggle with sharing the story of God's truth and love with these little ones?
Sure, you can read to them or tell them the stories from the Bible.... and you should. But you know it should be more than that. You know you want to make it real, and regular, and a natural part of life.
(Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut 11:19)
So.. how do you make it real? How can you share Bible truths in a way that even two and three-year-olds can understand?
The truth is.... you're not the only person concerned about Bible devotions for toddlers. In fact, many parents and grandparents avoid regular family devotion time when their kids are small becuase they just don't know how to do it.
Are you the same?
What if I could tell you how to share Bible truths in such a simple way that even the smallest child will understand?
What if I could show you how you could help kids see God in the small, but important, details of their life?
What if there was a way that you could show your toddlers how God loves them and explain, in real ways, how He cares for them and their troubles?
Easy! It's done for you!
Mary Gross Davis and Rose Publishing have created a series of devotional books for kids of all ages that does all this and more, even for two and three-year-olds.
You'll find 4 parts to each devotion.
1. Each lesson begins with a simple story to read that little ones will enjoy and relate to. It helps them see God as real and personal. Each story is short .... and you'll find it easy to keep the attention of your toddler.
2. There is a simple prayer to encourage your child to talk with God about everything plus a Bible verse.
3. The 'Talk About It' segment provides some simple questions to reinforce understanding and help you child apply the Bible truth to their own life.
4. Last, there are some ideas presented in the 'Try This!' segment. It help you continue to apply the story and Bible truth in a fun way. The suggestion may be to act out something, play a game, look for something special, draw or discuss some aspect of the story.
Take a look at a couple of sample pages below.
I wouldn't like to conclude without mentioning the illustrations by Olga & Aleksey Ivanov. They are lovely- bright and colourful, and they really add interest and appeal to the devotion book.
You'll find God and Me devotional books for Girls and Boys of all ages so check them out.
God and Me! for Little Ones
My First Devotional for Toddler Girls
Author: Mary Gross Davis
Illustrator: Olga & Aleksey Ivanov
Publisher: Rose Publishing
(Copy provided for a honest review.)
MY MOTHER'S QUILTS ...Devotions of love, legacy, faith and family
By Ramona Richards (Worthy Inspired- Worthy Publishing Group)
Quilting is largely a craft relegated now, to an earlier generation. While quilting groups continue to meet, share and encourage one another, today's quilts are mostly store bought.
But Ramona Richards writes with warmth and love of, not just quilts, but the lessons to be learned from quilts and those who so carefully piece, block and stitch them. Each devotion features a unique and beautiful quilt and its background and history. She describes the colours, fabrics and materials used for each but, more importantly, its creator and its story; the love and memories surrounding each. The life lessons are built around the quilts, the love and faith stitched into both the quilts and the fabric of life and faith that is passed from generation to generation.
"... the stitches of our family are very much like our faith: they bind us, comfort us, and help us share the foundations of the past with the generations of the future."
You'll find topic devotions of love, heritage, patterns and designs, lessons learned and over fifty more.
If you like crafts and needlework and would like to slip back in time to read and learn from these memories, you'll enjoy these stories and devotions.
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