From illegal faith in Soviet-controlled Latvia to seminary trained chaplain,
author brings her unique perspective and creative approach to preparing hearts for Christmas
LONGMONT, Colorado – Holidays 2018 — The smell of fresh evergreens and the scent of spiced cookies baking, the beauty of decorated homes with candles lit, and favorite Christmas music playing. The snow starting to fall across much of the nation puts us in the mood for the Christmas season, and we experience this with all our senses.
But how does one truly prepare the heart for the miracle of the birth of Jesus, all too easily buried in the rush of the season? May we admit that all too often in our American culture of overly-busy abundance and freedom that we miss the deeper meaning?
Perhaps the perspective of someone who came to faith when it was illegal in her country can help us see things in a fresh way. Latvian-born author Liena Apsukrapsa, writing with co-author Jacqueline Hullaby, calls us to engage all our senses in a creative approach to the familiar characters and stories of the season in their recently-released Christmas devotional, Advent to Epiphany: Engaging the Heart of Christmas.
“Our intent is to host your encounter with Jesus involving your entire person: mind, soul, senses, imagination and spirit. We believe He longs to raise you up to a new level of relating to Him, to yourself, and to the world around you,” they write.
Each of the 39 devotions, daily for the four weeks of Advent plus 11 more for the days leading up to Epiphany, engages the senses, inviting the reader to “enter the scene” of many of the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth, from the angels visits and the role of Zechariah and Elizabeth, through to the flight into Egypt, and concluding with the return to Nazareth where “the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40, NIV.)
Written as letters to the readers from the two friends, the authors share with us the ancient steps they discovered and now use in studying and experiencing God’s Word together.
Liena came to faith at a time when her nation was under Soviet rule and faith and free speech were prohibited. Yet, in the midst of political turmoil, her mother agreed to host a church that met in their home. Maybe it’s because of that background that Liena seems to especially delight in Bible study, bringing a spiritually-sensitive perspective as an Eastern European Christian who appreciates how precious faith is.
Once Soviet rule ended, she studied theology in Latvia then moved to Colorado to obtain a graduate degree from Denver Seminary and train as a chaplain.
Liena lives in Longmont, Colorado and works as a hospital chaplain. She still spends time in Latvia, and she is working on a project to create a retreat center adjacent to the house church she and her mother hosted.
Her next book, God’s Love Affair: The Heart of Lent [ISBN-13: 978-1946889751], will release in January 2019.
Jacqueline is a French teacher in Texas, where she delights in her faith and raises the daughter she adopted later in life.
For more information or to contact the authors about speaking opportunities, visit Liena’s website www.lienasgifts.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advent to Epiphany: Engaging the Heart of Christmas [ISBN: 978-1-946889-49-2 $14.99] just released from Carpenter’s Son Publishing. It is available from selected book stores and online retailers.
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