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Brewing Wisdom was provided a complimentary copy of Total Christmas Makeover from the publisher thru NetGalley for us to review.
In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it’s important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.
Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.
In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God’s grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.
The TOTAL CHRISTMAS MAKEOVER is an excellent book to start in November. As we make our way to December we begin to hear Christmas music, see stores being decorated and filled with festive merchandise and holiday special sales on television. So easily we can become distracted and caught up with all the hustle that we forget to put our focus on the main reason for Christmas. Spoelstra does an amazing job of relating to each of us during this time of year. Sure, we want to get into the Christmas spirit and who doesn’t want to have a house filled with that sugar cookie smell and “The Grinch” playing in the background? We can easily lose our joy during the Christmas season by becoming so busy that we are aggravated and overwhelmed. Total Christmas Makeover is a devotional that helps us to get into the Christmas spirit while keeping Christ the main focus of our celebration. She shares about her and her husband’s Christmas experiences growing up as children. She blends both of their experiences to create a new way of celebrating their own family to keep Christ at the center of the holiday season. She shares some stories to make it more relatable by including her three children of ages 6 years old, three months and twins of two years old.
Spoelstra divides her devotional into three sections that I refer to as the “three R’s” Ritual, Relationships and Rest along with ten devotionals that are relative to each subject. Whenever I first read the Ritual section, I was a little skeptical because whenever I would hear the word “ritual”. Growing up, rituals weren’t smiled upon and the ones I had seen were hollow or meant nothing to me. However, this section of the devotional really opened my eyes to an entirely new meaning of “ritual”. As Spoelstra quotes ” A Christmas makeover doesn’t mean throwing out all our traditions and habits over the holiday season and exchanging them for new ones. However, it might mean prioritizing the traditions that point us to Christ birth, rediscovering the intent behind the practices we treasure, or incorporating some new rituals that will help us share God’s message of love with those around us.” Spoelstra relates each topic to the Biblical celebrations mentioned in throughout the Bible such as the Passover, the Day of Atonement and festivals. “These were times of remembrance to help focus on God’s character and historical moments of His faithfulness.” (page 2).
What I enjoyed most about this 203-page book is how it’s very simple, practical and focused on Christ. Each devotion starts out with scripture that is relevant to the content of each devotion. Each devotion is about two pages long and has an ending prayer. What I believe makes a great devotional is how it can make you think and Spoelstra adds self-reflective questions a the end of each devotional to help you. For me, the purpose of reading a devotional is to kick start my mind thinking about the Lord and his Word. This devotion is more than just a reading for women, but it can be used to sit down each morning during breakfast with your family to read together each day up until Christmas. This devotion is also fantastic for a women’s group to read at each meeting. These devotions take more than just a few minutes to reflect on, as each devotion is an in-depth read. If you are like me and would prefer to not write in your book I would purchase a small journal to write down your thoughts to the reflective questions. All in all, this is a great devotional to consider if you’re looking to keep your eyes on the true meaning of Christmas as the days get shorter and crazier!