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The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp

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Devotions examines the birth of Jesus through the lens of Christ’s family tree, a story that begins with creation and ends at the cross.

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Ann Voskamp's first Christmas-themed book, The Greatest Gift examines the birth of Jesus through the lens of Christ’s family tree, a story that begins with creation and ends at the cross. She writes, “We lost ourselves at one tree and only find ourselves at another.”

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Ann invites readers to step away from the travel, shopping, hustle, bustle and pageantry of the holidays and step into the sacred adventure and intended wonder of the Advent season instead of focusing on ourselves. Where, in twenty-five brief devotions she adds freshness and originality to the familiar Christmas story through her presentation of the ancestry of Jesus and the Jesse Tree tradition.

Chapter eleven of Isaiah teaches a “stump of Jesse,” King David’s father will “Branch and bear fruit.” Common belief holds that Christ is the branch this passage speaks of. This is why Ann encourages readers “to make a Jesse Tree” this Advent season, “…to trace the family line and heritage of your own forever family—the family of God.”

This traditional tree can be something as simple as a silhouette or cut out of a tree to hang in the window or on the wall, even a group of winter red dogwood branches in a vase on a table. Purchase of the book includes a code word for Free Downloadable Jesse Tree Ornaments to print, cut out and decorate the Jesse tree with.

Just as our family lineages add meaning to who we are and where we come from, Ann’s inspired writing about the “family tree of Christ” gives new meaning to the promise of Christmas. If you want to experience a “Christmas that whispers, Jesus,” consider celebrating Advent this year with Ann’s thought for the day, reading, quote and prayer. Then take a moment to consider the questions that end each days reading.

While researching Ann’s book I found this genuine and inspirational account of Ann’s Christmas revolution a time when she wearied of “busy, over-stuffed Christmases that brushed past Christ” instead of giving the gift “of being overcome by Christ.”

I’ve never read anything by this author before, but plan to in the future. Her writing is rich, original and creative, filled with lavish word pictures of God’s love and the miraculous Christmas season that lingers. The Greatest Gift is an excellent gift idea for family, friends, teachers, and ministry leaders.

The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp (Tyndale House Publishers—2013, Hardcover, 288 Pages,

$19.99) 978-1414387086

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