Prata Potpourri: Thanksgiving treats, Sleep, Sharing the Gospel, more

By Elizabeth Prata

Advent season is here. With Thanksgiving next week and the weather getting colder, the Christmas decorations are starting to peek out. I plan to put up mine on Thanksgiving night. I don't have many, the apartment is small and the cat is too interested. A few years ago he ate the bow on one of them and the next year the pine cone off another. But I'll put up lights or battery candles in each window, for sure, so people driving by will enjoy the glow.

Don't we say this every year, 'boy where has the time gone?' It's the end of 2019 and soon 2020 will be here. It's easier to type 2020, so there's that.

Each year I publish a Thirty Days of Jesus advent scripture picture. These are photos with verses on them that each day successively tells the life of Jesus from birth to ascension. I'll be starting that on Nov 26. This year I'm also writing an Advent series on Mondays examining some of the lesser known people or events of the Advent and Nativity scenes. I've done two of those already, about Zecharias and the priestly lottery, and about Anna, God's precious widow. Meanwhile here are some other advent materials you might be interested in.

Alistair Begg, Advent series of sermons, History, Mystery, Divinity. The sermons so far in the series are:

Elisabeth and Zechariah
The Annunciation
Magnificat Part 1
Magnificat part 2

Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent, book by Sinclair Ferguson
Love is at the heart of Christmas - it's the reason behind all our gathering and gift-giving at this time of year. In this Advent devotional, Dr Sinclair B Ferguson refreshes our hearts as we reflect on the source of it all - love incarnate, Jesus Christ.

What Did Jesus Do?: Understanding the Work of Christ, teaching series is free on
In this teaching series, R.C. Sproul uncovers what it means for Christ to be the “second Adam”—and what this means for believers today.

The First Days of Jesus. Explore the story of Christmas in this 5-video series with Andreas Kostenberger. Free.

Chris Thomas at The Ploughman's Rest wrote about the most underutilized weapon we have in our arsenal against satan: sleep. Advent is usually a very busy time of year, as people scurry around gathering food, gifts, and visits during this season of celebration. Sleep, usually in short supply anyway, becomes shorter. Aimed at the pastor, but applicable to all, this essay looks at the weariness we feel and from whence our refreshment comes: in I Finally Wrote My Resignation Letter

On sleep (or inability to) musings from John Starke in his issue devoted to sleep.

An essay on the reality of hell might seem strange to include in an Advent themed Potpourri, but Jesus came to serve and to teach, and something He spoke about most (as did every NT author) is the reality of hell for the unrepentant. That said, here is an article on 10 Ways to Share the Gospel During the Holidays. Life is short and uncertain. You might be the only Christian they know. Share, so the reality of hell won't be on your mind for them the next Christmas, if there sadly is an empty seat at the table.

Amazon Smile is a system at where a percentage of your purchases are donated to a charity of your choice. Mine go to the Gideons International. It's a few pennies but it adds up. This year through Amazon Smile a combined $32,000-plus has been donated to the Bible ministry. It is easy to set up. It only took a few seconds, and I'm sort of a klutz with these things. Here is the blurb:
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

Here is a short video of insanely cute Thanksgiving treats. My favorite is the first one, the pumpkin shaped cheese ball. It looks like even I could do that!