The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas

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“I don’t want a Christmas you can buy.
I don’t wnat a Christmas you can make.
What I want is a Christmas you can hold.
A Christmas that holds me,
remakes me, revives me.
I want a Christmas that whispers, ...

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The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas

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“I don’t want a Christmas you can buy.
I don’t wnat a Christmas you can make.
What I want is a Christmas you can hold.
A Christmas that holds me,
remakes me, revives me.
I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus.”
—Ann Voskamp

Thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. This Christmas, Ann invites you to celebrate the lineage and majesty of God’s greatest gift to us—His Son, Jesus Christ—through the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree.

Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah, with each devotional reading, prayer, and reflection leading you one glorious day at a time toward the magnificent promise of Christ.

Beautifully designed and exquisitely written, The Greatest Gift is a treasured reminder that it is Christ and Christ alone who endows Christmas with meaning. The Greatest Gift is a timeless treasure your family will enjoy turning to year after year as you celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Tyndale House Publishers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414387086
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 220,333
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Greatest Gift


By Ann Voskamp

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Ann Voskamp
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8708-6


December 1

It Is Advent: Come

Today's Reading

Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord....

In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.

ISAIAH 11:1-2, 10

The mattering part is never what isn't.

The mattering part is never the chopped-off stump.

It isn't what dream has been cut down, what hope has been cut off, what part of the heart has been cut out.

The tender mattering part is—you have a Tree.

Out of the last and forgotten son of Jesse comes forth one tender branch that will grow into a crown of thorns ... a rugged cross ... your ladder back to God. Jesus will go to impossible lengths to rescue you.

Out of the stump of that fallen tree, watered with the living waters that flow from the depths of His grace, a twig sprouts. That twig will be the scepter that defeats your sin ... and lets you grow again.

Out of that stump and the sheared impossible there springs a singular shoot—tender and vulnerable.

There, here, in the midst of the inconceivable, the loud claims, the hard sells, the big spectacles, Christ comes small, the micro- macro-miracle who comes in the whisper and says, Seek Me. Just where you are, look for the small glimpses of God-glory breaking in, breaking out, sprouting, shooting, unfurling, bearing fruit, making a Kingdom, remaking the world. Slow and still. And seek the shoot that bears witness to God—the hardly noticed child, the hymn hummed over the sink, the unassuming woman bent at the register, the dog-eared Word of God beckoning from the shelf.

Gaze on shoots of glory to grow deep roots in God.

The theology of the Tree, of the Cross, always seeks the presence of God in the belittled gifts of the world.

The small Babe of Bethlehem, the dismissed Son of God, the stripped and beaten Messiah hanging exposed on the Tree—He begs us to spend the attention of Advent on the little, the least, the lonely, the lost.

Because in the rush, in the hurry, in our addiction to speed—it might just be a bit like stepping on the shoot that sprouts from the stump.

Advent, it is made of the moments.

This slow unfurling of grace.

Unwrapping More of His Love in the World

Plant wheat or grass seeds for every act of love and kindness you do today. Continue planting seeds for kindnesses throughout the Jesse Tree journey. Keep watering the sprouts until Christmas Eve. You're growing straw for the manger of the coming King! Love and new life are coming!

* * *

In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you've never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.


A Moment for Reflection

In what ways do you feel like a lifeless stump, longing for a tender shoot of hope? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

What are you waiting for, yearning for this season? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

Where can you see new life coming in what you may have considered dead? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________


Excerpted from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. Copyright © 2013 Ann Voskamp. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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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Table of Contents


Your Invitation to Unwrap the Gift....................     vii     

Jesse Tree Invitation and Instructions....................     xiii     

DECEMBER 1 It Is Advent: Come....................     2     

DECEMBER 2 Life Begins as a Love Story....................     10     

DECEMBER 3 Where Are You?....................     20     

DECEMBER 4 Rise....................     28     

DECEMBER 5 Living by Faith....................     38     

DECEMBER 6 Laugh!....................     48     

DECEMBER 7 God Provides....................     56     

DECEMBER 8 The Stairway of God....................     66     

DECEMBER 9 Never Undone....................     76     

DECEMBER 10 Covenant of Love....................     86     

DECEMBER 11 A Scarlet Lifeline of Hope....................     98     

DECEMBER 12 Every Little Thing Is Going to Be Okay....................     110     

DECEMBER 13 Looking on Hearts....................     122     

DECEMBER 14 Light to Warm Us....................     134     

DECEMBER 15 Adore Him....................     146     

DECEMBER 16 The Gift of the Storm....................     156     

DECEMBER 17 Lifting Up the Little and Small....................     166     

DECEMBER 18 Come to the King....................     176     

DECEMBER 19 Watching for Him Who Is Enough....................     186     

DECEMBER 20 When All the Miracles Begin....................     196     

DECEMBER 21 The Preparations Are Already Done....................     208     

DECEMBER 22 Be a Dwelling Space for God....................     218     

DECEMBER 23 God with Us....................     230     

DECEMBER 24 God in the Manger....................     242     

DECEMBER 25 Today....................     254     

Notes....................     261     

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Ann takes us back to the beginning--the very beginning, where hu

    Ann takes us back to the beginning--the very beginning, where humans were created in the image and likeness of God.  She unwinds the story of pain, the story of the fall.  She takes you through the dawns of evil, reveals the depths of the depravity, realizes the desperation for a Savior.

    She shows the goodness of God.  The holiness of the Maker.  The graciousness of the Father.

    I loved the way that this Advent devotional was written.  Truly beginning at the very beginning, showing the desperate need of humankind for a Savior before the miraculous event of God taking on flesh.

    The Gospel glows throughout this book.  Ann reveals and stresses through her poetic, real, and encouraging prose that Christmas was the means to usher in the true redemption.  That Jesus was born to die, to give us life.  But because He is God, the chains of death could not hold Him.  He rose again, and gave us victory.

    Christmas is beginning of the life--the promise fulfilled.  Immanuel, "God with Us".

    I highly recommend this devotional.  The sweetness of the Gospel, the holiness of such an oft commercialized event--this devotional helps it all to come into perspective.

    I adored the style of the formatting.  The graphic design, the fonts, the colors--the peaceful art appropriate to its message.

    Each devotional begins with a scriptural reading, followed by Ann's encouraging words on the particular passage.  The following remaining pages for the day feature a quote appropriate to the day's topic and a few questions for pondering with blank lines on which to write out your own thoughts.

    I am grateful to Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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