“Out of the stump of Jesse will grow a shoot – yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. … In that day the root of Jesse will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him and the land where He lives will be a glorious place” (Isaiah 11: 1, 10).

As Ann says, “Out of the stump of our hearts… In this day, this season, miracles will grow within, unfurl, bear fruit. And the heart that makes time and space for Him will be a glorious place. A place of sheer radiant defiance in the face of a world careening mad and stressed. Because each day of Advent we will actively wait.”

When my children were small, we would collect sticks and cut out paper circles to be used as ornaments. We would read a family devotional each night of Advent while the children drew a picture about the devotional. When we were finished, we would hang the ornaments on our sticks set in a vase. It was a lovely way to prepare our hearts for Christmas and to teach our children how the threads of God’s story weave together in the Old Testament.

Ann reminded me of this tradition when I rediscovered her book, The Greatest Gift. This book starts on December 1 rather than the first Sunday of Advent, and offers 25 daily readings. In her signature literary style, Ann helps us prepare our hearts for Christmas. As Max Lucado said, “Ann Voskamp on Christmas is like Monet on sunsets.”

Such a lovely way to prepare our hearts for the true meaning of Christmas! Ann offers many free and purchasable resources here and a beautiful set of handmade wooden ornaments here.