Jotham’s Journey: Advent Devotional Review

Jotham's Journey Review Home Learner

Sharing resources and books with other homeschoolers can sometimes feel a little like an underground organization where research and experience are king. Trading knowledge is as good as gold.

Or maybe it’s like a bee hive. If you’ve ever been to the Great Homeschool Convention (I love their name by the way, as if to say “We’re the GREAT one! Beat that other conventions!) then you know what I mean. Women and men buzzing around, at least a hundred fire code violations in each major branch of the venue, all on pursuit of that nugget or nectar that best meets their family’s needs.

One golden flower that I found recently is Jotham’s Journey. Sonlight has been promoting it for years, and every November it is included their recommendations for the Christmas season.

Would it be right for our family’s Advent celebration?

I did not buy it for 3 years. I just kept it in the back of my mind while we did Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree (which used to be free, but now you need to own The Greatest Gift to have access to the ornaments) and then 2 years of The Advent Event (amazing for young children who enjoy coloring and hand motions).

So in September while I was buying other resources (this one, buy it asap if you’ve been thinking about it, it’s better than you expect) from Rainbow Resource in September, I figured it was time to pull the trigger. It also felt good to have our Advent devotional planned that far in advance. Bonus.

Now for the review:

  • Amazing spiritual content. Daily references to both Old and New Testaments. Tying together prophecy and fulfillment in Jesus’ birth.
  • Suspenseful and thrilling plot. Great character development, driving scenes with intense image descriptions.
  • Not a picture book. Not suitable for very young, sensitive children. Some descriptions of the action would be too intense.
  • The author has a thorough knowledge of Jewish culture and history which makes the layering of the story on top of the Christmas story function naturally and spiritually.
  • Written to be used with an Advent wreath.
  • Includes a chart which customizes your reading schedule to the calendar – for example, if Christmas day falls on a Tuesday then read the last chapter in 3 parts: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or if it falls on a Thursday then read the last chapter in 5 parts. The last chapter can be broken into 7 parts.

One caution would be that the story contains death and murder. My kids are 7, 5, and 1 years old. The 7 year old is quite sensitive to dramatic material but loves a good story. And Jotham’s Journey is exactly that. There was one point in the story where my husband read aloud an intense scene and gave me the look like are we really going to read this to our children? This coming from the man who edited Balto while reading it to our kids so that they wouldn’t imagine the scene where Balto is stabbed to death. I get it. We do not want to fill their minds with violence – real or imaginary.

Jotham’s Journey brings the Christmas story to vivid light. Capturing the joy and grief of real life then and now. It has pointed questions in the devotional to draw the Christmas light into the reader’s life. Only deep reflection will satisfy the call to prepare Him room.

Let me know if you have read Jotham’s Journey too! Or if you have a different resource you love for Advent.

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