Prepare for your most Christ-soaked Advent yet | with Ruth Chou Simons

god's glory our delight gospelspice guests Nov 07, 2022

Ruth Chou Simons joins Stephanie today to invite families into an unconventional, life-changing Advent season. How can we prepare for a DIFFERENT kind of Advent - when Jesus is truly the center? How can we cultivate a posture of gratitude, an attitude of receiving goodness from the Lord, and a desire of deeper delight in HIs glory this Christmas season? How can we live an Advent season that is a true experience of what we do know about the goodness of the Lord?


The Advent season, brimming with glad tidings and great joy, is often followed by disappointment, post-holiday letdown, dashed expectations, and exhaustion. Box up the ornaments and take down the garland; put away the artificial trees and cheery red bows and flannel sheets: Christmas, with all its hustle and bustle, tinsel and twinkle lights, carols and celebrations, is over. But shouldn’t post-Christmas feel more like an afterglow and less like an aftershock? Why don’t even the best of celebrations feel like enough? After receiving so many gifts—including the birth of Christ, why is unfulfillment still lurking?

Bestselling author, speaker and gifted artist behind GraceLaced Co., Ruth Chou Simons once asked those same questions at the end of the Advent season. She found herself wanting, in search of something that outlasted the month of December. In her new devotional, Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always, Ruth offers a fresh take on the Advent experience, showing readers that the birth of Jesus—the Christmas story—is only the beginning. And that the resurrection—often overlooked in December—is the most life-changing event. She guides readers on a beautifully-illustrated 25-day journey that changes the way they celebrate the season and live the rest of the year. 

If Jesus is the reason for the season, then the resurrection is really the most life‐changing event we can celebrate. The baby Jesus born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem is truly a miracle only because he was the promised Messiah,” she writes. “Without the cross, the baby in the manger is but novel and fascinating, not life‐changing. And what we long for right now, in the midst of the hustle, the mess, and the mundane, is life-changing. We want the Christmas miracle to change our lives and not just our wallets … Perhaps when we struggle to experience that kind of heart change at Christmas it is because we’ve left the resurrection out of our celebration of the incarnation.”

In Emmanuel, Ruth combines her beautiful original artwork with personal insight and practical application. Each day in the book highlights a Bible passage, question to ponder, Christmas carol, and prayer. She helps readers understand they were created to know much more than the bustle, or even the magic, of Christmas; they were made to know Christ—the answer they have been longing for. 

“When you see an infant lying in a manger this Christmas—a popular visual image representing the miraculous story in Scripture—don’t let your affections remain there,” writes Simons. “Jesus is more than a baby, more than a beautiful miracle in a harsh world. He is more than a familiar figure sung about in festive tunes. Jesus is God with us—Immanuel, just as the angel of the Lord told Joseph.” 

“The true miracle of Christmas isn’t simply the virgin birth; it’s much greater than even such an impossibility. No, the miracle of Christmas is in this: that a holy God made a way for all who believe to come to first coming to us. Let that sink in. God’s promises, fulfilled by God Himself, are more than remarkable; they merit a response—not to get busy, but to fall down in reverence and awe for our great God.”


Ruth Chou Simons is a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including GraceLaced, Beholding and Becoming and When Strivings Cease, as well as the TruthFilled Bible study. She is an artist, entrepreneur, and speaker, using each of these platforms to spiritually sow the word of God into people’s hearts. Through her online shoppe at and her social media community, Simons shares her journey of God’s grace intersecting daily life with word and art. Ruth and her husband, Troy, are grateful parents to six boys—their greatest adventure.

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