A Book Review from Books At a Glance
By Kristin Stiles
Right from the beginning, I was captivated by the title. The title! Here is a Christmas family devotional that is titled “Prepare Him Room.” In all the hustle and bustle of Christmas time, we truly have to be intentional and make time and energy to focus on Jesus and the eternal importance of His incarnation. Yes! Put aside some of the holiday frenzy and “Prepare Him Room.”
This is a wonderful devotional that was put together with so much thoughtfulness. There are three lessons for each week of Advent and then a brief lesson for Christmas Day. That is doable for a busy family. You can schedule the lessons around your calendar to get the most out of them. There are “Warm-Up” activities to prepare young minds and hearts for receiving the point of each lesson. There is a “Read the Bible” section that follows. These selections are from Isaiah, the Gospels, and Revelation. There is a “Picture It” section that discusses the scripture and explains the context and implications of those verses that the parent reads aloud to the family. Then there is an opportunity to “Talk About It” with discussion questions. The family is then directed to “Pray Together” and “Sing Together.” Suggestions are given as to what the family can thank God for or how they can praise Jesus based on that day’s lesson. Lyrics to familiar carols and to a selection of Sovereign Grace Christmas songs are provided for the singing. The introduction to the book indicates that there is a CD available for purchase and I also found that these songs are easily accessible online. The lyrics to these SGM songs are so impressive and worthy of reflection. I appreciated being introduced to several new songs through this book. Scattered throughout the book are also “Activities” for the family to do together. These range from making cookies and decorations to caroling for neighbors. Finally, there is a mini-story in four parts that is read at the end of each week. This story is called “Bartimaeus: A Christmas Story” and tells about an orphanage in New York City during the First World War. I’ll admit I got quite choked up by the end.
Throughout this devotional, great care is given to present the gospel. The author laments the fact that so often our focus at Christmas is only on the coming of the baby Jesus and not looking ahead to why He came and what He accomplished. To remedy that, Machowski makes much of who Jesus was before His birth, how He demonstrated that He truly is the God-Man, what He did on the cross, and what the final glorification of Jesus will look like. These themes are presented in the individual lessons and also in the mini-story. It is a complete treatment of the Christmas story that is often not seen in other Christmas books.
This is not the kind of devotional that you just pick up in the evening and do the reading and you’re done. There is some preparation work that needs to be completed first. There are materials that need to be gathered and some easy research to conduct to ease the actual devotional time with your family. This book requires some commitment on the part of the parents, but the benefits of doing so are truly eternal. Will you take the time to “Prepare Him Room”?
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.