Christmas has always been special at our house. My husband begins the countdown on December 26th with the statement—“We’re on our way to next Christmas!”
June 25th is also a big day: “We’re halfway to Christmas!” he says.
And from the time our daughter Trina was six and Emily was four, we’ve celebrated the tradition of advent boxes—a small gift EVERYDAY of December, opened after we read a Scripture together, and talk about the Baby we celebrate with our lives. Christmas is a big deal for the Andrews’.
But this year will be very different.
Our daughters are married and grown with children of their own. We live in Washington State, and they live with their families in Detroit and Colorado Springs. Work schedules and budget constraints won’t allow us to physically celebrate Christmas together this year, so how can we join our hearts during this holy season?
Thank the Lord For the Internet!
Can you say Google Hangout? Maybe Skype is your Internet video-chat-tool of choice. I recently purchased an iPad and enjoy FaceTime-ing with our iPhone kids. Isn’t technology a wonder?
What a joy to see grandkids’ faces light up when they not only hear our voice but see our faces on the screen of a cell phone, iPad, or computer! We’ll celebrate my 50th birthday (yes, I said 50!) at our BIG dining table…with a computer tuned to Google Hangout, so that both daughters’ families can enjoy the meal with us. Crazy, isn’t it? But the virtual world is the next-best-thing when we can’t enjoy the experience together.
Will You Join Me For Christmas Devotionals?
My ladies’ Bible study finished the Beth Moore study, David: Seeking A Heart Like His this week, and I’ve asked the Lord, “What now?” How should I prepare my heart during the month of December to really appreciate and celebrate His most precious gift?
I love the fellowship of women and the accountability of a weekly study, but let’s face it—December gets crazy with added events, celebrations, and responsibilities.
But I believe the Lord directed me to an opportunity for biblical fellowship—open to men or women—with a level of flexible accountability through an online resource. It’s called BookShout. And best of all—IT’S FREE!
What Is BookShout?
BookShout is social media combined with a retailer. In other words, it’s like Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook combined. You can buy (or download free) ebooks, organize your e-library, and chat with friends about what you’re reading.
BookShout allows you to “Follow” friends, “Join circles,” and engage in discussions online with others reading the same book. It’s an online book club—that also sells (or offers for free) the books you want to read.
BookShout also offers apps for iPhones, iPads, and KindleFire HD (KindleFire users should read this link: http://downloads.bookshout.com/BookShout-Android.apk). Unfortunately, the classic Kindle books you’ve downloaded aren’t accessible through BookShout. However, your BookShout account and the books you’ve purchased (or downloaded for free) are accessible on any computer.
What Does This Have To Do With Christmas?
A few weeks ago, I downloaded several free books on BookShout. (Go to the What’s New tab on my website homepage to find December’s free Christian fiction on BookShout.) One of them was The NIV Gospel of John: With Devotional Notes. Yep, a single Gospel, including expert devotional notes.
Here’s my plan–and I’d love it if you’d join me…
- I’m going to read one chapter of John each day during the month of December.
- I’ll share thoughts and insights on each chapter in the notes section of the BookShout NIV Gospel of John book as I read.
- Anyone in the circle will also be able to share their thoughts and insights as well as read mine.
- Those who don’t want to share can still enjoy reading the comments of others.
Will you join me?
It’s a way we can join our hearts together during the busiest time of year, preparing to focus on the single-greatest Gift ever given. No matter where we are in the country—or world–we can prepare our hearts together!
Here’s How You Can Join “The NIV Gospel of John Circle:”
- Click on this link: http://www.bookshout.com/circles/the-niv-gospel-of-john-with-devotional-notes
- See my picture? There’s a button to the right. Click on: “Follow”
- “Sign up, and start reading with friends”— Choose one of these options:
- “Connect with Facebook”
- Facebook Log In (This option will post your BookShout progress on your FB profile, and you’ll be able to invite your FB friends to join the circle with you)
- Or “Create new account” (This option allows you to invite friends later—typed in manually)
- Fill in name, email address, and password
- “Connect with Facebook”
- Automatically takes you back to Gospel of John page!
- Click on the button: “Join Circle”
- If you want to add a picture to your profile or change other settings, click on your name at top right, and then click “Settings” to adjust personal data.
- The BookShout App is free to download onto your mobile device. (I tried it on my Droid phone—not great—but it works beautifully on my iPad.)
If you have questions, ask them below in the comment section or on my Facebook Page. I’ll check both regularly today and tomorrow to prepare for our December together!
Happy BookShouting! See you in the Circle!
- The virtual world is the next-best-thing when we cannot BE together! How about BookShout?
- Looking for biblical fellowship—open to men or women—with a level of flexible accountability?
- Join hearts during the busiest time of year, focusing on the single-greatest Gift ever given.
- What do you most look forward to during the month of December?
What do you dread about the days leading up to Christmas, and what practical steps can you take to instil joy?