HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Illuminate: An Advent Experience
Author: Paul Sheneman
Cover Illustrator: Lindsey McCormack
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2011
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Suitable for everyone
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Sheneman, Paul. Illuminate: An Advent Experience (published in 2011 by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City). This is a book of daily devotions to be used by a family or small group during the Advent Season, i.e., the four weeks before Christmas, and then the Twelve Days of Christmas. Someone gave me this book because, I assume, it is a religious book and this person knew that I am a preacher. Let me point out that, while we believe everything the Bible says about the birth of Jesus Christ and we do celebrate Christmas simply as a traditional holiday, our family does not acknowledge Advent as a religious festival or observe Christmas as a holy day to commemorate Christ’s birth. Those who do follow the “Christian Calendar” will probably find this book very useful in doing so, and even those who don’t still might come across some interesting information.
Author Paul Sheneman is a veteran “youth pastor” with the United Methodist Church. I thought that the following admission is noteworthy. “It is still the custom in the Judean hill country to keep the flocks out on the ranges until bad weather sets in—usually from the middle of March until the middle of October. At twenty-five hundred feet above sea level, Bethlehem can experience cold rains and winds, sometimes even snow flurries, by the middle or end of October. When the weather gets too cold for the flocks, the shepherds bring them in close to town….Because the shepherds were ‘keeping watch over their flocks at night’ (Luke 2:8), we can be fairly certain that the nativity occurred sometime between those months of March and October.”