Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way

Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way

by Joanna Harader
Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way

Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way

by Joanna Harader


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Journey through Advent and Christmas with the women of Jesus’ family line.

Christmas is about so much more than twinkle lights, sugar cookies, and perfect family photos. It’s about the world-changing, transforming, and sometimes messy reality of “God with us.” As we dive deep into the biblical accounts of Jesus’ female ancestors and reflect on God’s presence in their complicated lives, we can begin to release our expectations of a “perfect Christmas” and instead seek the experience of a holy season.

Through invitational spiritual practices and reflections, this daily devotional centers the stories of five women in Jesus’ genealogy—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary—plus three additional female figures connected to Jesus’ early life in the days leading up to Epiphany. You will also find resources for exploring the lives of these women in worship, small group, and retreat settings. This Advent and Christmas season, step into the true power of the Incarnation as we journey together to the manger and encounter the omnipotent God who has come to us in the vulnerable Christ-child.

​Original artwork by Michelle Burkholder

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781513810553
Publisher: Herald Press
Publication date: 09/06/2022
Pages: 130
Sales rank: 179,516
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS. Her worship liturgies have been published in the Voices Together hymnal and are used in churches of various denominations. She has written for publications such as Christian Century, Leader Magazine, and Shine Sunday School curriculum. She writes regularly for the RevGal Blog Pals blog, as well as her own blog, Spacious Faith.

Michelle Burkholder serves as the associate pastor of Hyattsville (MD) Mennonite Church and is a practicing visual artist. One of Michelle’s paper cutout pieces, Loaves and Fishes, can be found in the Voices Together hymnal. After studying art and theater at Eastern Mennonite University, Michelle went on to study the intersections of theology and the arts at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. The connections between art, faith, and spirituality fill Michelle with wonder, curiosity, and joy.

Table of Contents

Invitation 11

Suggestions for Using This Devotional 13

A Note from the Artist 15

November 27: Women Prepare the Way 17


November 28: Tamar Grieves 21

November 29: Tamar Waits 24

November 30: Tamar Refuses Shame 27

December 1: Tamar's Blessing 31


December 2: Rahab Shelters Spies 34

December 3: Rahab Negotiates a Deal 37

December 4: Rahab Survives 40

December 5: Rahab Acts by Faith 43

December 6: Rahab's Blessing 47


December 7: Ruth Travels 50

December 8: Ruth Supports Naomi 53

December 9: Ruth Cares for Herself 56

December 10: Ruth Goes to Boaz 59

December 11: Ruth Is Silenced 62

December 12: Ruth Gives Birth 65

December 13: Ruth's Blessing 69

Bathsheba: "The Wife of Uriah"

December 14: Bathsheba Suffers an Assault 72

December 15: Bathsheba Laments 76

December 16: Bathsheba Grieves 79

December 17: Bathsheba Approaches King David 82

December 18: Bathsheba Approaches King Solomon 85

December 19: Bathsheba's Blessing 89


December 20: Mary Says Yes 92

December 21: Mary Visits Elizabeth 95

December 22: Mary Sings God's Justice 98

December 23: Mary Gives Birth 101

December 24: Mary Treasures and Ponders 104

December 25: Christmas Blessing from Mary 108

December 26: Mary Presents Jesus at the Temple 110

December 27: Mary Welcomes the Magi 113

December 28: Mary Escapes to Egypt 116

December 29: Mary Loses Jesus 119

December 30: Mary Goes to a Party 122

December 31: Mary's Blessing 126

Anna, the Weeping Mothers, and Wisdom

January 1: Anna Praises God 129

January 2: Anna's Blessing 133

January 3: The Mothers Weep 135

January 4: Blessing of the Weeping Mothers 139

January 5: Sophia Christ Is Present at Creation 140

January 6: Sophia's Blessing 144

Guides for Group Use

Worship Guide 146

Small Group/Sunday School Guide 165

Retreat Guide 171

The Author and Illustrator 175

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