Christmas traditions such as Christmas caroling and attending Christmas Eve church services are in decline.1 Meanwhile, over 60 percent of those surveyed admit that winter holidays increase their stress level - especially for women. Long shopping and to-do lists can diminish December's joy, but one ancient spiritual practice draws busy people back to the peace of Christmas. After 1,500 years, the season of Advent still invites God's people to deep reflection as they await the coming of Christ.
Sherri Gragg is an author and mother of five who knows the Christmas rush can be especially intense for women. She has found the practice of Advent allows time and space to focus on the hope and love of Christ, muting the noise of holiday demands. Her new book, Advent: The Story of Christmas (Dayspring, 2019), guides readers through 31 days of Advent expectancy and reflection.
Advent: The Story of Christmas traces God's ribbon of redemption - from Eden to Jerusalem - via 31 biblical stories. Sherri's unique storytelling, infused with cultural accuracy and color, has been described as "Bible stories for adults." Her narrative style offers a fresh perspective on the lives of God's people, both ancient and modern. Advent will enrich personal devotional time and can guide group discussion during the seasons of Advent and Christmas.
"I was sitting on a hillside in Israel when I first believed God loved me," writes Sherri Gragg. "During the years since, I have eagerly researched the history, geography and culture of Bible times. The hours spent in study have been sweet ones for me. I offer you all I've learned, wrapped in story. May you discover that God loves you more than you ever imagined."
Sherri Gragg is a writer and speaker who enjoys researching the history, geography, people and culture of the Middle East. Her biblical storytelling is rooted in historical accuracy and cultural color. Sherri's books include Advent: The Story of Christmas (Dayspring) and Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in the Savior's Presence. She co-authored with Sheila Walsh two titles for the "5 Minutes with Jesus" devotional series. A nationally published freelance writer and Writer's Digest award winner, Sherri lives and writes in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee.
Sherri Gragg fell in love with stories as a child and discovered she could travel - between the covers of a book - to any place or moment in time. Some of her favorite memories include trips to Middle Earth, Narnia and the Middle East.
After graduating Welch College, where she studied Education, English and Theology, Sherri married and made Nashville her home. The next decade was filled with toddlers, followed by teenagers, as Sherri earned more "frequent reader" pages than "frequent flyer" miles. The stories of scripture captivated her imagination during this season, and she began researching the people and culture at the heart of biblical accounts.
God opened the door for Sherri to travel to Israel with Bible World Seminars in 2010. Dr. James C. Martin guided the tour and lectured on the culture, history, and geography of the Bible. As Dr. Martin described the context of Biblical events, Sherri began reading the stories of scripture with fresh understanding.
"That trip changed my life and answered so many of my questions," Sherri recalls. "I began reading and researching the history, geography, and culture of the ancient Middle East. The world of the Bible came alive. And as it did, I found God to be infinitely kinder than I ever imagined."
As a writer and speaker, Sherri guides readers on historical journeys via her unique storytelling which is infused with cultural accuracy and color. She enjoys researching and crafting "Bible stories for adults," which is how she describes her writing style.