MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: Preparing for Advent.
Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it the beginning of the Christmas season. Many families use Advent resources to prepare their hearts to remember the coming of Jesus Christ into the world.
NICK EICHER, HOST: But for families with young children with lots of energy, finding an Advent book that keeps kids and parents engaged can be a challenge.
BROWN: WORLD reviewer Whitney Williams now to share a classic advent book that brings the whole family into the story of Christ’s first coming
AUDIOBOOK: “They think I’m dead! Jotham wailed out loud. “They think I was killed by some animal and dragged off to be eaten!” And then he began to cry again, not a cry of anger anymore, and not a cry of loneliness. A cry of fear.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, REVIEWER: That’s a clip from the audiobook, Jotham’s Journey, written by Arnold Ytreeide and narrated by Kirby Heyborne.
AUDIOBOOK: “I want my father,” he cried, and fell with his face in the dirt, clutching his little blanket. I want my father!”
Jotham is a ten-year-old Hebrew boy who sets out on a harrowing, action-packed journey to find his family after being separated from them due to his own sinful stubbornness.
Along the way, Jotham receives help and hospitality from friends, like Biblical characters Zechariah and Elizabeth, who tell him of the coming Messiah.
AUDIOBOOK: “‘My wife and I have wanted a child for fifty years, but always she is barren. Yet this Angel is telling me that we will have a child in our old age!” Zechariah almost shouted at Jotham. “Is it any wonder that I doubted those words?”
But not everyone Jotham meets is helpful or historical. Take the fictional character, Eliakim. He’s a caravan leader who slaps Jonathan to the ground, holds a sword to his neck, and works to sell him into slavery:
AUDIOBOOK: “Yes, we shall see what price we get for a worthless boy,” he said again, laughing. Then turning to the men of his tribe he yelled, “Bind him!”
Jotham’s Journey is divided into short, 10-20 minute daily readings that couple the fictional story with a related devotional, candle lighting, and scripture reading, giving parents a springboard for solid spiritual discussion. Here’s one question from Week 2.
AUDIOBOOK: Jotham feels like his whole world has just fallen apart. Not only is his life in danger, but he’s traveling farther and farther away from his family. Surely, this can’t be God’s way of working things out, can it?
As Jotham slowly makes his way to Bethlehem, thinking his family might be heading there for the census, readers gradually make their way to the place of Jesus’ birth, as well, just in time.
AUDIOBOOK: “Jotham, wake up!” The voice was hissing in his ear, and Jotham swatted at it as if it was an annoying bug. “I need your help, my friend. Some more travelers have arrived—a man and a woman. I tried to send them away, but the woman is about to have a child. I need you to help me clean out the stable again so they may sleep there.”
One caution–in chapter 22, the author mentions that God “accepts all people wherever they are in their own spiritual journey.” Parents may want to clarify that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
And while those familiar with the nativity story can probably guess how this book ends, that doesn’t make it any less magical.
AUDIOBOOK: “How could such a child save the entire world?” Jotham wondered. But he didn’t worry about it. He just accepted it and thought what a marvelous day this was.
I’m Whitney Williams.
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