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Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-with-Us Then, Here, and Now

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  840 ratings  ·  103 reviews
For those who are looking for something honest, something real, something with a little more human grit to it and a little less conventional red and green: Honest Advent offers a new kind of devotional.

For too many of us, Christmas has lost its wonder. Maybe for you, the joy of the season is painfully dissonant with the hard edges of life right now. Or maybe you feel weari
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by Zondervan
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Average rating 4.58  · 
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Amy Bruestle
I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

Wow. This was such a refreshing read. An awesome concept, too. I don’t have much to say, other than I truly loved this book. Restoring the true meaning surrounding Christmas, and shrugging off what has become the societal norms in this present century. Amazingly thought-provoking, well written, and definitely well thought out. I am interested to see what other works this author has. I enjoy his honest, forth-right approach to th
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is, by far, my favorite Advent book I’ve ever read through. Erickson pairs his unique, striking art with fact-based, historical, realistic thoughts on the Advent season.
If you’re looking for a red & green platitude Advent book, this is not for you. But if you want something that puts a literal birth (labor pains, goopy-ness and all) of a real baby who grew to be a Savior, that gives you blessings & perspectives for your real in-the-world life, this is a breath of fresh air. A real Honest A
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oftentimes—perhaps largely because over two thousand years have passed—the story of Christ's birth and the events leading up to it have dulled a bit. Our society has mythologized, sentimentalized, and watered it down over the years. All too easily the scandal of the Savior and King of the world coming into this life in the lowly, albeit humiliating, manner that he did loses its edge amid the sweet carols and peaceful nativity scenes we render on our lawns and atop our mantles. Too many sanitized ...more
Lauren Brawley
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Very aesthetically pleasing, but often not a very challenging devotion (which I had expectations) and wish he used more scripture (there is only one verse at the beginning of every chapter which often irks me about a devo). But maybe he didn’t write it to be used as a devotion! Think you’re a great person Scott the Painter & will still follow and love your Instagram and art but didn’t vibe too much!
Shelby Deeter
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
It started out really strong and I cried a lot in the beginning, but towards the middle it just kind of got a bit too brandish and churchy. I think part of it is the level to which a man can write bits about pregnancy and birth is very limited. It seemed like there was an honest attempt at a genuine take on faith and incarnation, but it fell flat and tasted a bit stale. People are trying to get through to that plane of transcendent faith, but it's easier to get there than to articulate how — tha ...more
Emily Magnus
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Honestly big fan of Scott the Painters insta posts/art but reading through this advent devotion was pretty anticlimactic. His writing style included hashtags and felt hard to follow sometimes. 10/10 to his artistic endeavors tho, good reminders !
Dec 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed how Erickson brought raw humanity to Advent. He exemplified the fact that Jesus was fully HUMAN, and through his art and narrative reminded us that our Savior took part in our mortal existence. Several times I was struck by an image-- whether via his painting or word picture-- and it caused me to ponder and reflect. I liked his writing style!

Largely, however, the book didn't resonate with me like I'd hoped. I found myself distracted by the author's propensity to walk the cultural/Bibli
William O'Neal II
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
trying to not be afraid. but it's easier said than done. the weight of not knowing what to do next is terrifying and if that is what the glory of god feels like, i bow down in fear, trembling, and anger. ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is my first year doing/reading anything for advent. I loved the rhythm of doing that. However, that was something that would have happened regardless of the book.

The illustrations are what Erickson is great at. I really enjoy them, and follow him on IG because I love the way his art captures ideas. (Where he also posted every image that is in this book.) Unfortunately, his writing struggles to have the same effect. Especially toward the latter half of the book, there are some paragraphs tha
Emily Jenkins
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So impactful. Such good word in here. I am a lover of lectio divinas, sitting with both art and scripture. Thank you, Scott, for guiding me through meaningful connection with Christ during this season of advent! I would recommend to anyone.

I appreciate the emphasis on human-ness in this advent devotional. The human-ness and humility of Christ astounds me over and over again. Something so magnificent occurring in such a tangible, human way. The marriage of human-ness and Godliness here is so bea
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t typically love devotionals, but I really feel like this one made me think and discover Christ in new ways this advent season, I would highly recommend.
Lindsey Varble
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely advent devotional that was perfect for 2020. I enjoyed the art. My one complaint is that it was a little light on the actual use of Scripture—mostly just the author’s thoughts. But they were good thoughts and I still recommend the book.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Strengths: Scott Erickson writes conversationally, and if he introduces a theological term, explains it in plain language in each of his advent readings. The bold two-tone art is striking and offers the chance to reflect on the promise of advent. His writing is effective when it's tightly connected to his art and experiences, like in Chapter 8: Breathe or Chapter 14: Counselor

However Erickson's casual tone can get a little too flippant in his metaphors, allowing bits of unnecessary ableism and d
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
“It’s just an invitation for you to come and see for yourself.”
Shelbi Starr
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a great advent read. I disagree with the author on some theology but his writing is full of truth and revelation. Definitely recommend!
Michelle Woodman
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t know when I ordered this book the loss of my mother was ahead of me. Having these words and images to usher in a Christmas with a new sense of waiting and longing, of the Now And Not Yet has been an absolute gift.
Jen Johnson
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I appreciated Erickson’s earthy take on the advent and what it means for Jesus to be both fully human and fully God.
Bethany Smith
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful, real, honest, and raw contemplative guides to the season of Advent I have come across. I adored this text and will probably re-read it every Advent.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely 4++. Fresh insights into the Incarnation as God’s expression of Love for humanity. And He continues to show up today. Reached into my heart and mind for a special Advent 2020 experience.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a hidden and joyous wonder. It’s new and fresh and honest (as promised). It brought so much life and revelation through the art and simplicity. So blessed by it!
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Scott Erickson’s Honest Advent is a fresh, deep dive into the advent season and Christmas. I appreciated the, what were often for me, reality checks surrounding the Biblical stories I have known for years. The illustrations were thought provoking, the color scheme calming, and while I’ve never honestly had opinions on the paper type/texture/weight of a book before, it was really nice! I enjoyed the blessings at the end of each chapter. A big thank you to Zondervan for the copy!
Paula Sintermann
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful devotional for Advent, but really for any time of the year. Scott’s words are honest and there’s a rawness to his writing that draws one in. It’s not frilly, but it’s beautiful and I think that’s what we need in this time more than over. Honest words that make us feel seen and not alone. Beautiful words that give us hope. Scott offers both and I will continue reading and recommending this book to people.
Lisa Degrenia
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've preached the Advent/Christmas story for over 20 years. Scott Erickson's Honest Advent makes connections I've never considered. Deep connections, rich connections, honest connections.

I first found Scott through Instagram (@scottthepainter), then through his book collaborations with Justin McRoberts (buy these books, too!), then through his prints, and now through his first solo book. His writing is poetic, yet also like you're talking with a friend over coffee. His illustrations/icons are en
Rachael Marsceau
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I absolutely love just about anything Scott comes up with, and this is no exception. Obviously, I read this a bit before Advent, thanks to being included in the book launch club.

I think what I find most unique about his work is his boldness to accurately portray the physical aspects of Christ's life. So if you will be offended by illustrations of birth/nursing/etc., this isn't for you. But the profound illustrations are only improved upon by his relatable, encouraging devotional though
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Christmas has become sentimentalized & sanitized, and in the process… lost so much of the power of the radical story of God Almighty coming to earth (goop and all). The ancient Greek separation of body & soul has impacted so much of our modern Western culture, and Scott Erickson’s book reclaims the togetherness & the wonder that is God’s wholeness.

This year especially, we will be confronted with what is left of our holiday spirit when much of the cozy, treacly, sentimentality of annual tradition
Shanda Scherdin
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love the advent season and I love Scott’s work, so I knew this would be a winner. It’s a combo of visual and written meditations that accompany the reader through “waiting for the coming Hope we deeply long for.” 2020 is teaching us all lessons on waiting for the coming Hope, and this book is truly honest and gritty and raw in all the best and needed ways I can think of. I read through this early as part of the launch team, but I’m excited to slowly move through it again when advent season com ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
The twenty-five brief chapters in this book each explore one simple concept from the Advent story. Each is preceded by a simple picture to set the tone. What I most appreciated is Erickson's creative ability to explore elements of Advent we don't normally encounter. Yes, he talks about peace, and plenty about birth. We're also prompted to consider the inn not as a packed Hilton but the more likely scenario of a family home with too many relatives, along with the still relevant emotions regarding ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I recently found Erickson and his art and have enjoyed following his updates on social media.

When he announced an Advent book about the realness and vulnerability of Christ coming out this year, I immediately placed a preorder.

It did not disappoint! In this crazy year of quarantine, sickness, and change in every aspect of our lives, we are all feeling alone and vulnerable and this was just the book to bring some perspective into this crazy situation.

God isn't some over-arching, all-powerful,
Jason Bennett
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Omg I Finally Got Helped  !! I'm so excited right now, I just have to share my testimony on this Forum.. The feeling of being loved takes away so much burden from our shoulders. I had all this but I made a big mistake when I cheated on my wife with another woman  and my wife left me for over 4 months after she found out..  I was lonely, sad and devastated. Luckily I was directed to a very powerful spell caster Dr Emu who helped me cast a spell of reconciliation on our Relationship and he brought ...more
Melanie Garduño
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first advent book I’ve read, and I’m having a hard time rating it because it doesn’t easily compare to my normal reading.
The chapters for each day are very short, and end with a really good intention to pray on or keep in mind for the day. The author makes really great points about the realness of Jesus, helping to make him feel more relatable and helping us as readers to feel more connected to him. I did quite a bit of highlighting! My critique would be that some of the chapters fe
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