Our Advent Begins!
Advent officially begins December 2nd, but since we like to make our own rules we began our Advent readings early. When we got our copy of “Destination: Bethlehem” in the mail we didn’t want to wait–so we dove right in! The kids snuggled up with me and we took off on an interesting trip through ancient Palestine.
Destination: Bethlehem is a wonderful little Advent story written by mother/daughter team Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman. It’s actually a two-part story about two separate boys who travel through ancient Palestine on a journey that ends in the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Journey with Isaac as he witnesses the birth of John the Baptist, and follow along with Jediah as he marvels at the birth of the Messiah. There’s a suggested list of “pieces” to gather for each story such as a small candle, or an orange. We have been using little toys and trinkets that we already have on hand, such as a miniature Noah figure to represent Zechariah. As we settle in with our token for the story, the kids gather around and we read. Most days they beg for another day! They truly enjoy it.
Bringing it to Life
With two colorful maps and cozy “sketched” illustrations throughout, the 24 chapters can be read one each day from the beginning of December through Christmas Eve as you anticipate the coming of Christmas morning. At the end of each chapter is a page called “Travel Guide to the Past” which shares tidbits and facts of the historical setting or Jewish customs. At the end of the first chapter we learned about the Jewish custom of placing a Mezuzah on the doorpost to remind them to keep God’s commandments. My children were astonished to discover that we have one by OUR door! It was a gift from my brother that he brought back from Israel, but above the heads of my children and out of their observance. These interesting tidbits do help to bring the story even more to life.
A Greater Ministry
As wonderful enough as it is for this charming story to be sharing the message of Christ and helping families stay Christ-centered during the holidays, there is an even greater ministry at work here. Not only did Sharon and Christine write this story for their two sons/grandsons, but they planned from the beginning to donate all of their profits to the children of Yalpemech, Guatamela — a ministry they are connected with through Christine’s church. Not only is this book a blessing to families during Advent but it is also a blessing to those children in Guatemala as well.
We have been enjoying this book tremendously and it really is the perfect addition to our Advent traditions this year. With a move on our plate somewhere between now and Christmas Day, I’ve forgone pulling out all of our usual decorations and Advent “tools.” The plan to “keep it simple” was perfected with this simple telling of the coming of the Messiah, and his foreteller John. I have no doubt that your family would be equally blessed to add this to whatever traditions you have planned for this year.
**A special thanks to Sharon for providing me with a copy to review and a copy to giveaway. Although I was compensated for my time and for promotion connected with the Mommy Time Party, I requested to review this product because I wanted to experience it for myself and add it to our Christ-Centered library. I was not required to write a positive review, but we enjoyed this book very much and this review reflects our experiences and opinions. My commitment to my readers, as always, is to provide honest, quality reviews.