Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent

Overview

Draw nearer to God—and to each other—every day during Advent.
How many Christmas mornings have you found your family gathered around the tree with presents beautifully wrapped and a scrumptious feast on the table—but with hearts that have not been prepared to truly take in the wonder of God’s becoming human? Not this year.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a family Advent devotional from Bible teacher and mom Nancy Guthrie, is designed to bring...

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Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent

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Overview

Draw nearer to God—and to each other—every day during Advent.
How many Christmas mornings have you found your family gathered around the tree with presents beautifully wrapped and a scrumptious feast on the table—but with hearts that have not been prepared to truly take in the wonder of God’s becoming human? Not this year.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a family Advent devotional from Bible teacher and mom Nancy Guthrie, is designed to bring your family together during a season that is often too much about programs and presents and simply not enough about Jesus. Along with devotions for every day in December, this resource includes explanations of some hard-to-understand elements of popular Christmas carols and discussion questions that will draw your elementary through high school age kids into the conversation, transforming this time together from a dry lecture into a treasured family experience. Tyndale House Publishers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414339092
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

First Chapter

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

DAILY FAMILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADVENT
By NANCY GUTHRIE

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Nancy Guthrie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-3909-2


Chapter One

DECEMBER 1 The Promised One

When someone promises us something wonderful, we can hardly wait for that promise to be fulfilled. If the promise is something good, we want it now! We really don't like to wait. And yet the very best things are worth waiting for.

A long, long time ago, God made a promise to his people, Israel. In fact, he made many promises to them. But God's most important promise-the promise all his other promises depended on-was that he would send the Messiah, the Anointed One, who would save them from the difficulties of living life in this world broken by sin. The Messiah would not be an ordinary person, but God's own Son. The people he made the promise to had to wait, putting all their faith in the One who made the promise.

The season leading up to Christmas is called Advent, which means coming. During Advent, we remember the thousands of years God's chosen people anticipated and longed for the coming of God's salvation through the Messiah. Then, at Christmas, we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made. Jesus-the Savior God had promised-was born to us. No more waiting. Jesus came.

When John the Baptist was born, his father, Zechariah, recognized that the long years of waiting were finally over. God gave him a special understanding that his son, John, was going to prepare the way for the promised Messiah. Zechariah celebrated that God was about to fulfill his promise. He said, "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago" (Luke 1:68-70).

God promised that he would send a Savior, which he did when Jesus became a human baby. And while Jesus did everything necessary to save us when he came the first time, he also promised to come again. Then all God's promises will be completely fulfilled. So again we are waiting. Waiting patiently for God to fulfill his promises is what it means to have faith.

Putting faith in God's promises is not something a person does only one time on the day he or she becomes a Christian. The essence of being a Christian is placing all our hope in God, knowing we can trust him to fulfill all his promises-even the ones that haven't been fulfilled yet. We are willing to wait, trusting that "God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true" (Psalm 18:30).

PRAYER

Like your people of old, we are waiting for you, God, to fulfill all your promises. And because we remember how you fulfilled your promise to send Jesus, we know that you will fulfill all your promises to us.

* * *

Discussion Starters

- What does it mean to make a promise?

- Zechariah said that God would soon send a mighty Savior "as he promised through his holy prophets long ago." Look up these verses in your Bible to see a few examples of promises God made about the Messiah, given through his prophets in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6.

- Waiting for Christmas to come gives us a tiny taste of what it must have been like for God's people to wait hundreds of years for God to fulfill his promise in sending Jesus. Why do you think it is good to learn to wait on God?

More from the Bible about- THE PROMISED ONE: Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. ROMANS 15:8

All of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" 2 CORINTHIANS 1:20

* * *

DECEMBER 2 Right on Time

Most days we set specific times for when we will go to school, have piano lessons, or get picked up from our friend's house. But sometimes there is not a specific time set for something, and we're left waiting, wondering when the package will be delivered, when the plumber will arrive at our house, or when our ride is going to show up. We wonder if we've been forgotten.

By the time Jesus was born, the Jewish people had been waiting for hundreds of years for God to send his promised Messiah. It had been more than four hundred years since they had even heard God speak to them through one of his prophets about the Savior he would send. It seemed like God had stopped talking to them, and some people had grown weary of keeping up their hopes that God would come through for them. While they were waiting, the Romans occupied their country and ruled over them. This made them long even more for the great Deliverer God had promised.

Though it is hard to wait on God, and though it sometimes seems to us that God is slow, God's timing is always perfect. He is never late. He always acts at just the right time.

God knew when the time was just right to send Jesus, the Messiah, into the world. He knew when the exact religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place. Paul wrote, "When the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4, emphasis added). You see, God is not making up plans as he goes. All the grand events of God's plan for our redemption have been scheduled in advance, from Creation to the enslavement and exodus of God's people from Egypt; to David's taking the throne in Israel; to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus; to the day when Jesus will return. Paul said that God "has set a day for judging the world" (Acts 17:31). The course and timing of history is not a mystery to God. Time is in his hands, and he will bring about his plans and purposes in our world and in our lives right on time.

PRAYER

You are the God of history and time is in your hands, so we know that you can be trusted to accomplish everything you intend in the world and in our lives in your perfect timing.

* * *

Discussion Starters

- Describe a time when you had to wait for someone to show up. What was it like to wait?

- Can you think of some instances in the Bible when God said exactly how long something would last? For example, what did he say would last forty days (Genesis 7:4)? What did he say would last four hundred years (Genesis 15:13)? What did he say would last forty years (Numbers 14:34)? What does this show us about God's careful timing?

- How can understanding God's lordship over time help us to trust God's perfect timing for our lives?

More from the Bible about- GOD'S TIMING IN SENDING JESUS: Before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time. MATTHEW 11:13

"The time promised by God has come at last!" he announced. "The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!" MARK 1:15

The writings of the prophet Isaiah inspired the hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Long before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied about the Savior God would send, implanting in the hearts of God's people a longing for Immanuel (which is the Hebrew version of the Greek name Emmanuel). Hundreds of years before Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, Isaiah wrote, "The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us')" (Isaiah 7:14).

Though it was hard for the people in Isaiah's day to imagine or understand how God would actually become a human, they began to long for this Messiah who would be "God with us." They looked forward to the day when God would fulfill all his promises by coming to live with them. We identify with them in their longing for God to fulfill his promise to send Jesus when we sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."

To understand what this song is saying, we have to understand some of Israel's history. Remember that at one time God's people were slaves in Egypt and God brought them out, led by Moses. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years before finally entering into the land God had promised them. But God's people sinned and rebelled, and after a while, one part of the country was carried off into exile to Assyria and another to Babylon. Living far away from home, the people of God longed for him to come and rescue them from their captivity. As they sat in exile, many undoubtedly remembered the prophetic words of Isaiah. A child was coming who would save Israel-the Lord's presence in the flesh. We sing of their longing in the first verse:

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

When we sing the verse "O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer ...," it reminds us of Zechariah's prophecy: "The morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" (Luke 1:78-79). In other words, Zechariah likened the coming Messiah to the rising sun, shining light upon the dark world (cf. John 1:1-5).

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

This song stirs in us a longing for Christ to come to fulfill his promises. The words prepare our hearts to truly celebrate Christmas when it comes. We are preparing for Christmas by purposefully nurturing in our hearts and in our homes a sacred longing for Christ to come.

Singing this song reminds us that the birth of Christ was not a surprising turn of events in history; it was the long-awaited fulfillment of God's promise to his people. As we sing it, we are encouraged that as he came before, he will come again! When he comes again, we'll hear a shout from the throne of God, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them" (Revelation 21:3). When he comes back, all the longings we sing about will be fulfilled. Finally and forever we will enjoy Emmanuel-God with us.

Remembering How God Has Prepared Our Hearts Year to Year

COMMENTS MADE AND QUESTIONS ASKED DURING OUR FAMILY'S DEVOTIONS DURING ADVENT

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

DECEMBER 3 Family Matters

You might know people who can trace their ancestors to someone famous-a war hero, an inventor, a sports legend, or a Hollywood actor. People who are related to someone famous usually like to talk about it, but it is different when people can trace their ancestry to someone infamous for being a liar or murderer or thief. Descendants of these kinds of people are not usually so quick to want to talk about their ancestor.

But that is not the case with Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both include a genealogy-a record of Jesus' human ancestry-and it includes some people known more for terrible sin than for something good. Matthew began his book this way: "This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham ..." The list goes on for many generations and ends, "Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah" (Matthew 1:1, 16). Luke traced Jesus' ancestry all the way back to Adam, beginning, "Jesus was known as the son of Joseph," and ending, "Adam was the son of God" (Luke 3:23, 38).

When we look through the list of people in Jesus' ancestral line, we see people famous for their faith-like Noah and Abraham and David. But we also see people with tarnished reputations-like Judah, who was intimate with his daughter-in-law; Rahab, who was a Canaanite prostitute; and Manasseh, the king who put false idols in the Temple. Even Noah, Abraham, and David, as faithful as they were, were sinners, and all of them needed a Savior.

We find hope in the ancestry of Jesus that no matter what we've done or where we come from, we too can be included in Jesus' family. Jesus does not look for people who are perfect and have never failed or made mistakes to be in his family. Instead, he is drawn toward people who recognize their failures and see their need for him.

PRAYER

How grateful we are to know that you are not ashamed to have sinners and failures in your own family, Jesus. When we look at this record of your own family, we know that you are not ashamed to have us in your family. Instead, you welcome us.

* * *

Discussion Starters

- What do you know about your ancestry-your grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents? (Parents, do you have an interesting story you can share with your children about one of their ancestors?)

- Look through the two genealogies of Jesus, in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. What do you know about some of those people? Who are you surprised to see there because of what you know about them?

- Why does Luke 3:23 (NIV) say that Jesus was "the son, so it was thought, of Joseph," and why does that matter?

More from the Bible about- BEING IN JESUS' FAMILY: Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother! MATTHEW 12:50

So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. HEBREWS 2:11

DECEMBER 4 Getting and Giving

This is the season our mailboxes are filled with stacks of mail-order catalogs, and the television is full of advertisements of all kinds of shiny new things wrapped up with red bows. Through their colorful pictures and creative words, advertisers seek to convince us that we don't have enough stuff-that we need more, newer, better. It is their job to convince us to feel dissatisfied and discontented with what we have. They want to feed our natural desires for more than we really need.

So how will our family respond to all the messages around us this time of year? How can we make sure that Christmas in our house is about more than making lists of the stuff we want and figuring out what to give to other people? Do we really need to keep collecting more stuff and spending more money on ourselves? Can we stop believing the lie that the more we get, the more satisfied we'll be?

By putting our focus on giving to others and meeting their very real needs, we can battle the greed in our hearts. Christmas is a season not of getting, but of giving, because at Christmas we are celebrating that God is the most generous and outrageous Giver in the universe. After all, he gave us his Son. Proverbs says, "Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!" (Proverbs 21:26). To pour ourselves into becoming outrageous givers is to pursue becoming more like God. God turns greedy, grasping, fearful hoarders into generous, honest, cheerful givers.

To become givers, we have to decide not to listen to the voice inside us that tells us we must keep a tight grip on what we have so we will never be in need. We have to reject the lie that money in the bank and a pantry full of food takes care of our needs, remembering that ultimately it is God who takes care of all our needs. We have to tell ourselves the truth about God-that because he has been so generous in giving us Jesus, we can be confident that he will give us everything we need. We take him at his word, believing that he can satisfy us and that he will bless us as we give to others. We trust his promise that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

PRAYER

Generous, giving God, we want to put your word to the test this Christmas. We want to find out for ourselves how happy it will make us to give. We want to become generous givers like you are, confident that you will take care of all our needs.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by NANCY GUTHRIE Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Guthrie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 23, 2010

    Great Christmas Gift Book

    This Christmas season, I've been reading, "Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room", by Nancy Guthrie. It's a Advent daily family devotional that also doubles as a nice little gift book.


    We all know that Christmas can be a busy time in our lives. There are our children's school concerts and office parties to attend. Cookies to bake and shopping, oh the shopping! With all the hustle and bustle, it's easy to forget the real reason for the season.


    For those of us that long for a little more meaning during Christmas time, I suggest reading this book. It's a great way to bring your family together this season for thoughtful discussion. Each daily devotion has a prayer, discussion starters, and a more from the bible section -which shows other passages to refer to for further studying. There are even Christmas Carols for your family to sing and blank pages for writing notes about what your family shares with one another. Great for all ages.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Keep The Reason Behind The Season Where It Should Be!

    How many Christmas mornings have you found your family gathered around the tree with presents beautifully wrapped and a scrumptious feast on the table - but with hearts that have not been prepared to truly take in the wonder of God's becoming human? Not this year.

    Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a family Advent devotional from Bible teacher and mom, Nancy Guthrie, is designed to bring your family together during a season that is often too much about programs and presents and simply not enough about Jesus. Along with devotions for every day in December, this resource includes explanations of some hard-to-understand elements of popular Christmas carols and discussion questions that will draw your elementary through high school age kids into the conversation, transforming this time together from a dry lecture into a treasured family experience.

    I received this wonderful hardcover book compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review and we've been enjoying it together as a family since the first day of December. We love looking at the Christmas story in the many parts and reflecting on many aspects we may miss otherwise. How such a young girl must have felt being approached by an angel of God with wonderful news that she would be the mother of Jesus. How Joseph must have felt to raise the Son of God and watch Him grow up. How both of them were hand chosen by God to endure all they would in raising Him and watching Him die for our salvation.

    We get a first hand glimpse at the stories behind some of the blessed Christmas carols we've all come to love and enjoy. What a better way to place the focus where it should be this year and every year, than celebrating the true Reason for The Season! This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars and I hope you all get a copy for your family and begin a new tradition.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2010

    Pull yourself back into the heart of Christmas!

    Do you struggle each holiday season to keep Christ in Christmas? I know that I do! I am forever finding myself feeling negative about the commercialization of Christmas and eventually become apathetic towards the big "box" stores. With decorations showing up right after Halloween it's easy to do!

    Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie has been a breath of fresh air for me and my family this year! Each day of the Advent calendar is presented in this cute little book highlighted by a family devotional, prayer and discussion questions. Personally, I loved the discussion questions. They provide a great way to get your children involved in the season. The devotionals and questions will draw your family together and provide a springboard to real heart to heart conversation.

    It is so easy to get caught up in the "wish list" stage and the chaos of coming and going, doing, baking and planning that you can easily find yourself on Christmas Day wondering where you went wrong yet again. This book will help you to pull yourself back in to the heart of Christmas and will create an atmosphere where you can draw your family into the real meaning of the season as well.

    For example: Today in the devotional, Nancy talks about our tendency to ask everyone what they want for Christmas. It's a common question and it is one that we ask automatically. Nancy challenges us to ask instead.. "What are you giving for Christmas?" What a simple way to turn the conversation away from being self centered and towards self sacrifice. Of course, giving is not a huge sacrifice but it is a great way to take the focus off of "ME" and put it on others.

    I would recommend this devotional for any Christian who is searching for a way to combat the commercialism of the holiday season. It is a wonderful way to share Jesus and his values with your children in a manner that invites conversation instead of a lecture.

    Help create the season as it was meant to be with Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie!

    *This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

    Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room is a small devotional book aimed to remind people what Christmas is really all about. It's not about Santa Claus coming down the chimney with a sackful of present or about having a lot of toys under the Christmas Tree. This devotional book reminds us that Christmas is supposed to be the time for love and family, and togetherness.

    'Let Every Heart prepare Him Room contains a lot of Christmas Carols along with prayers and scriptures from the bible. It's presented in a very beautiful way, and perfect for father and mothers or even grandparents who wants to teach their little ones about the true meaning of Christmas.

    My only complain about this book that it is too small and the space is not quite enough to write our thoughts and devotions on it. I was hoping that the book would be a tad bigger in size and I wouldn't mind it if it's printed on paperback.

    Nevertheless, this book make a perfect present for Christmas for parents who wants to remind their children what Christmas is all about.

    This book was sent to me free by Tyndale House Publisher. I wasn't required to give positive remarks about this book.

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    Too Small

    As I grow older I'm more and more aware of the size of books and their print! Oops! I'm getting ahead of myself...

    I was excited to receive the new Christmas devotional that Tyndale published this year by Nancy Guthrie titled Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. I haven't read a Christmas devotional with my kids before so I thought this would be a good year to start. I didn't glance at the size of this book before I requested it. It happens to be the size of a 4 x 6 picture (almost to a tee). It's a little hardback book with tiny print and tiny lines to write on.

    The devotionals are fine in and of themselves. Nothing especially stood out to me. Each devotional day had a story/thought and two or three verses. She didn't reference passages to be read, but rather single verses. Scattered throughout the book there are also reproductions of the music for several Christmas hymns and stories about them. I enjoyed these stories about the hymns. Over the past year, I've come more and more to cherish hymns and the stories behind them.

    The size of this book is a great obstacle to me. On one hand, it's very easy to store! But, it would also be easy to lose. It would be difficult for anyone to read if they don't have 20/20 vision. It makes me sad that publishers are choosing to publish such small books instead of charging a little more for a larger paberback copy. I definitely would pay the extra. I can write with very tiny print, but the lines provided in the book for writing down reflections aren't even big enough for me.

    I'm so sorry to give a book--a Christmas book, of all books, a negative review. The content of the book is solid and appropriate for a family with children ages 6-12 years old. If I were looking for a Christmas devotional to read with my family, I honestly wouldn't choose this book. I would keep searching for another devotional that would be easier to read and hold while you're sitting on the couch with your family.

    Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Tyndale Publishing.

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  • Posted November 27, 2010

    Small size; deep devotions

    As the temperature drops, I anticipate my favorite season, and wonder how to bring delightful memories to my children. Most importantly, I desire to encourage in them a love for the Christ-child, and my latest book review is an excellent resource for anyone else doing the same. Nancy Guthrie writes Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent, which offers daily readings, thought-provoking questions, memory verses, a prayer, and (as my favorite inclusion) space to include your family's comments and discussion topics resulting from her prompts. Not only could you review what was discussed last week - but potentially keep a discussion alive year after year! She did surprise me with her inclusion of the story behind several well-known Christmas songs, lyrics and sheet music included, giving me greater appreciation for their beauty, and a well-rounded approach to devotions. Overall, I rejoiced to find such a clear and simple book for this season. Nancy has given me a great tool (deceptive in its size: it could easily fit in my purse for our holiday travels) to keep focus on the Christ of Christmas for this year and many more.

    I was grateful to have to privilege of reviewing this book for Tyndale Blog Network, of Tyndale House Publishers? and received a complimentary advance copy to complete my review: Christmas for me!

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