Honest Advent

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

by Scott Erickson, Morgan Harper Nichols

On Sale: 2020-10-20

Price: $18.99

Book Summary

From celebrated artist-storyteller Scott Erickson: 25 days of heart-stirring images and thought-provoking meditations to rekindle the wonder of God-with-Us in this Advent season. Honest Advent illuminates the astonishing truth that the God who showed up in the hardest parts of our humanity is still doing so today.

About the Book

In a world that's difficult to make sense of, and a season that's so often overtaken by consumerism, here you'll find heart-stirring illustrations and thought-provoking meditations designed to show you the raw, powerfully sacred story of Christmas in a new light.

Has the joy of the holiday season become painfully dissonant with the hard edges of life? Do you feel weary from the way Christmas has become a polished, predictable brand? You aren't alone. For too many of us, Christmas has lost its wonder. What if we stopped treating the Christmas story as something that happened a long time ago and started believing that it's a story that's still happening today?

From celebrated artist and storyteller Scott Erickson comes Honest Advent, 25 days of illustrations and meditations that will help you rekindle the wonder of this season. Honest Advent creates a space for you to encounter the Incarnate Christ in unexpected places: like a pregnancy announcement in an era of political unrest and empirical bloodshed, the morning sickness of a Middle Eastern teenager, and the shocking biology of birth that goes far beyond the sanitized brand of Christmas as we know it today.

Through powerful benedictions, prayers, and questions for honest reflection, you'll discover how the wonder of God-with-Us is still happening today: in your unexpected change of plans, your unaccomplished dreams, your overcrowded lodging, and your humble stories of new beginnings.

Throughout Honest Advent, Erickson teaches us the valuable lessons he's learned about:

  • Finding hope and light in the darkest winters
  • What it means to embrace the unexpected
  • How God uses everyday vulnerability to help us understand ourselves, and our faith, better

If you're looking for something to spark your faith and renew your relationship with the holiday season, Erickson invites you to experience a new way to celebrate this Christmas.


There is something so enticingly refreshing about the perspective and conversation of Advent through the feminine lens. Scott Erickson's reflection of the Advent season through the connection of the misrepresented women in the Savior story not only is healing and restorative but also brings us back into the story, where the feminine and the divine have always been.

Scott Erickson does a perfect job of removing the current taste of stale commercialization and male centeredness from Advent. He then brings back in the beauty, mystery, and wonder that this season is meant to inspire. If you want an Advent made for our moment of social and racial awakening, and one that doesn't oversimplify, this is it!

When I was an evangelical, I thought Christmas took too much emphasis away from Easter. When I was an atheist, I thought Christmas reinforced an absurd fairy tale. Me and Christmas, well, it's complicated. That's why I love Honest Advent. As a meditation on the vulnerability of God through the strange mystery of Christ's incarnation, Scott invites us not to master that mystery, but to experience it.

Beautiful. Evocative. A wake-up call to the mystery of life.

I'm no Scrooge, but the last thing I want to read is another book on the Christmas story. Luckily, that's not what this book is about. Scott Erickson's beautifully crafted book helped me see God-with-Us with fresh eyes. Honest Advent is no shallow seasonal gift book; it's an invitation to explore the divine flourishes of everyday human vulnerabilities. A transformative read, regardless of the time of year.

Through striking visuals and conversational prose, Scott Erickson has created a doorway between the foreign and the familiar, the simple and the complex, holiday and the everyday. On any day of the year, but especially through the time of Advent, land on any page in this book to find a prayer, a bridge, an invitation into what is coming and out of the boxes we put around God.

Scott Erickson's iconographic works serve as portals to the 'kingdom of heaven within us.' In this collection of art and reflection, we're reminded what makes our hearts that heaven--the God who comes nearer than we are to ourselves. I'll be opening these doors with wonder and gratitude. Thanks, Scott, you're such a good doorman!

We know of few other voices that so powerfully bring back the luster to tarnished, sacred things. Scott Erickson's Advent meditations will be an evergreen gift for the weary soul, calling out fresh and upending wonder at the incarnation, what it meant then, and how we are to be now.

Readers on a quest for information can sometimes find themselves devouring books too quickly without taking time to chew, not fully tasting the words and their meanings. Scott Erickson's drawings force us to slow down and open up to truth in a new way. Advent is a season for slow contemplative reflection, and this book will be a tasty treat to savor and to help us reflect on the greatest wonder of all--God becoming one of us.

There are so many things I love about Scott Erickson, and this Advent book brings them all together. I sense that he is always doing his own work, learning how to live in the body and mind he's been given, making sense of the world through all of the means--psychology, sociology, art, science, spirituality, and wonder--so that when he turns his lens toward something, anything, out come these well-formed, beautifully connected scenes. This lens, turned toward Mary, Jesus, and incarnation, helps me break through the incredibly solidified narratives of Christmas into something that moves me again and helps me connect with the real earth, the blood, sweat, and tears--this happened here, on this earth, in our way, through human birth.

As a follower of Jesus who has spent the majority of my professional life (thirty years) working alongside my Jesus-following, Jewish wife within very dark, hostile Islamic regimes, we have celebrated many Christmas/Hanukkah seasons hidden away with curtains drawn and doors locked, lighting candles and reading the Scriptures. If Honest Advent had been available then, I would have handed out the book to the Muslim community and walked through the season with them. What a beautiful, timely work of art!

With the specific audacity and humility of an artist, Scott Erickson's captivating words and images flip, spin, and reconsider the reality of God-with-Us and the transformative notion of that presence in, with, and through our humanity. He invites us to look afresh and find newness and wonder in the Advent story through the female body--not through its typical maligning but as a way God chose to be with us.

Honest Advent unearths the beauty and power of life's deepest truths woven into the ancient Christmas stories. Through his gorgeously provocative illustrations and authentically insightful teachings, Scott Erickson rescues us from the commercialization of Christmas by breathing much-needed new life into Advent's themes and ideas. The most wonderful time of the year now has the most wonderful piece of art to go with it.

As an often flustered mom in the throes of raising four young kids, I connected so deeply with Honest Advent because it reveals the nearness of God through a painful but beautiful mess I am very familiar with--pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Though 2020 will be remembered for a lot of hardship and trauma, this book helped draw me closer to Immanuel--what a gift!

The primary job of an artist is to see. And while a great deal of the excitement around Scott Erickson has had to do with his talent for (and with) imagery, what has made his work vital and unique has always been his vision--a vision for God in the world, for people in the shadow of God, and for people in relationship with one another. This beautiful book is the fullest expression of the kind of vision that makes Scott a gift. Good artists have a knack for clearly and engrossingly letting us in on how they see their world. Great artists change the way we see ours. Scott is becoming a great artist.

As someone who has been in the work of shedding the layered baggage of my religious past, I've also been looking for opportunities to reclaim what is good and beautiful and true. This book is a reminder of everything good and beautiful and true about Advent. Not necessarily easy or pretty, but good and true--and our world certainly needs more good and true these days. I am grateful for the reclamation that this work will bring to so many people for Advent and beyond.

This beautifully crafted piece of art explores immaculately the invasion of the best that Christmas means: Presence in our Present.

Scott Erickson's work is both a blaring anthem and a gentle whisper. He takes the untouchable and makes it familiar. Scott's modern artistic interpretation of the heard-it-a-million-times Christmas story invites both the skeptic and the Christ-follower into transformative vulnerability. This is a book not just for the holiday season but for everyday awakening to the sacred unknowns we each carry.

In this personal and deeply felt collection, Scott Erickson offers a thoughtful, contemplative exploration of the wonder hidden just beyond the popular portrayal of the Christmas narrative. Through twenty-five images and essays, Erickson illuminates a deep and personal appreciation of the central story in the Christian tradition and approaches it, not as a creed to be accepted or even a question to be answered, but rather as a mystery to be explored and embraced.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780310361879
  • ISBN 10: 0310361877
  • Imprint: Zondervan
  • On Sale: 2020-10-20
  • Pages: 224
  • List Price: $18.99
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2020-10-20
  • Trim Size: 137.000mm x 213.000mm x 13.000mm
  • Weight: 258.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Holidays / Christmas & Advent
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Inspirational
  • Category 3 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
  • Category 4 : RELIGION / Meditations
  • Category 5 : RELIGION / Prayerbooks / Christian