Sherri Gragg
About the Author

Sherri is the author of four books, including Advent: The Story of Christmas (DaySpring, 2019), traces the story of redemption from Eden to Jerusalem. Sherri is a nationally published freelance writer and a 2012 award-winner in Writer’s Digest annual competition. She lives and writes in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. This is a beautiful story as a well as a heart-felt lament–just like Advent.
    We have a fabric beautifully hand made calender we hang on the wall. When the boys were littler they would each take turns. They don’t fight over it anymore now that they are older 🙂
    I love waking up each morning and seeing the little heart moved to the current day.

    • Me too, Britt. I love the way lighting those candles invites me to step out of the chaos of our consumerist culture and be still with God.

      May God’s peace be very near to you this season.

  2. Oh wow wow, Thank you so very much for sharing this. This was so moving, Thank you Thank you. I am still sobbing lol, not just pretty gentle tears, but huge sobs! I don’t know why this has affected me so much. So glad I visited today.

    What a blessing it is to share this part of your story. God bless you and your lovely family. God bless you all and keep you forever bound in love!!! Mwah!

    Re Advent – We haven’t really celebrated Advent in the past, but I am learning more about it as we go along! 🙂

    Big hugs to you and your oh-so-blessed family! So curious to hear how old all your girls are now. So you have 3 daughters in total, right? God bless you all!!!

    • Hi, Bomi! Thank you for stopping by.

      Yes, I have three daughters and two sons. When my two younger girls came home from Haiti, they were 2 and 5. Now, they are 18 and 21. In less than a week, we will celebrate their golden “Gotcha Day.” They will be home 16 years on the 16th of December.

      And they are counting down the days until we celebrate.

      God is so good.

      • Ah…. Beautiful!!! Or Belle, as your daughter would say!

        I won’t be forgetting this story in a hurry. Now I can’t stop smiling:) lol.

        Blessings to you all!

  3. Hope is something that can wear thin at times. And becomes something you believe in, hold onto – yet don’t feel so warmed by it. Then one day, under your Christmas tree lights, there is this gift, real and wrapped up and waiting. Something new and beautiful that will be all yours. There is warmth in the air itself.

    • Yes, Donna. I too have felt my hope wear thin.

      But God is faithful. Because Jesus came, we have an advocate that understands how it feels to grow weary and discouraged. He never condemns us when our faith wears thin, but meets us in compassion.

      May his tender Spirit be very near to you this season.

  4. Thank you for the reminders that waiting can be hard but fruit is produced!
    I am doing an Advent study with a friend…my first since COVID began. I tried as the pandemic hit, to find one person who would journey through a book or study together but every time I approached someone, they felt over capacity. So I’ve studied alone, with my husband, with our girls. Then a few weeks ago, a friend between jobs found an Advent study and asked me :). What a blessing it’s been to discuss scripture with another woman. And the perfect season to do it in!

    • I am so happy for you, Laura. I hope this season is rich and deep for you and your family. May God bless you and your friend as you journey through Advent together.

  5. When I was younger, we would have an Advent wreath on our dining room table and light the candles each Sunday dinner. I continued to do this when my children were little, but have gotten away from it, I don’t know why. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me to be patient and continue to have faith for blessings to come.

    • Nancy,

      It is so easy for life to crowd out rituals and traditions we once loved. That is one of the beautiful gifts of the season of Advent – It invites us to step out of our consumerist culture and find meaning in the stillness and quiet. May God bless you and yours this season.

  6. It’s December 10th & our Ann Voskamp advent book & tree are finally on display. We will try to read several days’ readings & hang ornaments on the tree at a time to get caught up. That in itself is a tradition. We might be a few days behind trying to get current but there is never a doubt that Christ is with us in our journey even when our pace doesn’t match the calendar! Emanuel, God with us indeed!
    Thank you for sharing this insightful, encouragement!

    • Thank you for stopping by, Ruth.

      I am so excited to hear about your wonderful traditions for the season. May God bless you and your family. Christ’s peace to you.

  7. Thank you for this reminder this morning that the waiting is where we grow and where Jesus meets us. I would love to use this book to learn more about truly celebrating Advent.

    • Judy,

      Waiting is hard work, isn’t it? Aren’t you grateful that it is never wasted when we walk with the Messiah? Christ’s peace to you this season, friend.

  8. Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful story.
    We always had an advent wreath on the dining room table and would light it every Sunday. Embarrassingly enough, it’s been 20+ years since I’ve seen one. I would love to get your book and reintroduce advent into my household.
    Merry Christmas to all!

    • Cristin,

      Advent wreaths are a wonderful way to celebrate the season. If you are looking for other resources to guide you through Advent, there are some free downloadable ones on my website.

      Christ’s peace to you, friend!

  9. Advent a time of illumination of light in the darkness. It is a beautiful time of quiet contemplation and celebration. We have a little brass wreath candle holder with two bells and angels the float from little hooks. Each Sunday we read a passage of scripture, light another candle and watch as the the heat from the candle rises up, spinning the angels ‘round, eventually making the bells ring each time they touch the bell in a circle. It is the most beautiful sound and sight to see my kids faces illuminated by the candles, eyes wide in wonder and my husband and I looking on in awe. In wonders of His Love.

    • Annette, We had one of those growing up! Great memories of my parents teaching us the true meaning of Christmas while those candles flickered and the bells rang. I haven’t thought of that in 40 + years. Thanks for bringing to mind a great childhood scene. May your children grow in stature & favor with God & man as you share those rich truths with them! And may they smile when they remember these days decades from now!

    • Annette! We had one of these when I was a child and it is one of my favorite memories. Thank you for brining it back to me. Now, I need to go find one of these for my kids…

      Christ’s peace to you, friend.

  10. Having adopted multiple children, I have made that flight. I have known the years of waiting for a child that turned into an even harder journey of supporting them as they healed. We brought some home at Christmas time. We have experienced the joy and heartbreak simultaneously. It’s a challenging journey, but one that has taught me more about my heavenly Father than I could ever know. Thank you for sharing your story and I will be adding your book to my list of ‘must reads.’

    • Peace to you, Lynn.

      I am so thankful for my adopted daughters. They are great today at 18 and 21, but there were long, painful seasons of healing. I am so grateful that God walked with us along the way. Sometimes, I look at them and just start crying at the miracle of it all. When that happens, they always ask, “Mom! Why are you crying?”

      And I always say, “Because we made it. I am so grateful we made it.”

  11. I am ashamed to say that I do not know a lot about Advent. I have grown up in church most of my life and I hear the word Advent but I really do not know the true meaning. Your story has opened my eyes to see that I need to do some research and understanding of Advent. Thank you.

  12. Beautiful story about waiting, which is so difficult for most of us, me included!! I don’t really have any long standing Advent traditions, but am eager to study and learn more about it. Waiting in Anticipation!❤️
    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your beautiful book.

    • Hi, Joan.

      I am so glad you stopped by. Advent is such a sweet time. If you are looking for additional resources, you can find some free downloadable ones on my website.

      Christ’s peace to you!

  13. What a beautiful story! In our church we have families who read the Bible verses and light the advent candles each week.
    Thanks for sharing this fitting & well written story at this time of advent. May God Bless you and your family. Merry Christmas!

    • Diane,

      I love this tradition! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read. I pray that God blesses you and your family this season as well.

      Christ’s peace to you.

  14. Awesome. I love all devotionals but especially ones that help me to focus on the true things in the midst of worldly chaos. Thank you.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Elizabeth. I love having an Advent devotional or reading to help me through the season. My Advent book is a bit different that others. My special area of interest is the culture and history of the Bible. To make this come alive for my readers, I weave it into a narrative for each day. I call it “Bible Stories for Grown Ups.”

      May this season be especially sweet for you, friend. Christ’s Peace to you.

  15. Oh wow! Thank you for sharing this. It wasn’t until a few years ago when my Bible study group did a book on Advent that I became aware of what Advent was even about. This message today on waiting hits home during this crazy busy week of December. I loved this part “Christmas shouts joy. Advent weeps and waits, in hope, that though the night is dark, the Prince of Peace is on His way”.

  16. I love your quote about Advent. I have sebeck friends who lost their loved ones this year and Christmas is such a difficult time. But the reminder that Advent is waiting hopefully…. beautiful. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Janet. One of the sweetest things for me about discovering Advent was the realization that God makes space for my struggles. He is the One who “bears our infirmities and carries our diseases.” My life is proof that this includes the wounds we carry in our hearts and souls.

      Peace to you, my friend.

  17. I have never specifically celebrated Advent but I would love to with the lighting of the candles as someone’s blog suggested a while back. Thank you for an opportunity to win.

    • Heidi, I am glad you stopped by. An Advent wreath is a wonderful way to observe the season by lighting candles. I love to take a moment to just pause and open my heart to God as I watch the flame. If you are looking for more guidance on how to participate in Advent, there are some free downloadable resources on my website.

    • Thank you, Ursula. I pray that God continues to reveal His great love and tenderness to you during this season. I am so thankful that He walks beside us on this journey.

      Peace to you.

  18. I love your writing! Thank you for the wonderful and insightful story of finally bringing your girls home. Truly thought provoking. I wasn’t brought up with advent and hadn’t really heard about it (except for advent candy calendars!) until recently. I would love to start that tradition in my home.

    • Hi, Mary Alice. I didn’t observe Advent growing up either. I began to practice it only a few years ago. It is truly a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas. If you are looking for additional resources, there are some free downloadable ones on my website.

      Peace to you!

  19. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights. I appreciated that very much. Unfortunately I am a Canadian so I will not qualify for your draw. Blessings upon your writings, and as your raise your daughters.

    • Thank you, Carolyn.

      Canadians are the best! I have a dream of coming to spend Christmas in your beautiful country. I pray that God’s peace will be very near to you this season.

  20. I so appreciate the advent season. Some things have changed now that I am an empty nester, but I still light a candle and do a devotion each night. I have been trying out decorating slowly to try to appreciate the preparation time more. (And of course there is an advent calendar with little chocolates ).

    • Jane, I will soon be an empty nester too! My baby, who was only two-years-old on that flight home from Haiti, is now 18 and a senior in high school. I am thankful that even as my home grows quieter with each child’s flight out into the world, that Jesus is always near.

      Peace to you, my friend.

  21. What a beautiful story. “Christmas is about celebration, but Advent is about giving space for the hard places in which we still wait for deliverance.”-AMEN!!
    Thank you for sharing a part of your soul…God bless.

    • Thank you, Tierney.

      It is my honor to share one of the ways God has been faithful to me during the hard times. I am so grateful that He walks beside me on this journey, aren’t you?

      Peace, my friend.

  22. I want to go back to having an advent wreath. I was raised Catholic and didn’t become a Christian until I became an adult.
    We had an advent wreath every year growing up and I think returning to that tradition for myself would be a beautiful way to refocus on the true meaning of this relationship with God, as opposed to making Christmas a holiday.

    • Advent wreaths are one of my favorite traditions of the season. We have a large one up front at my church and a smaller one on my kitchen table. I hope you enjoy bringing back that tradition.

      Light is shining in the darkness…

      Peace to you.

  23. This hard…. So many things I grew up with, traditions as it were, don’t fit in my today life… I didn’t grow up in a Christian environment and only knew Santa…

    Now, I understand advent… and am waiting

    • Terresa, I grew up in the church, but not with Advent. I discovered it just a few years ago. I remember feeling so relieved to find a space for suffering, waiting, and longing in the church calendar. Advent offers us the beautiful opportunity to search our own hearts, and to bring all that is broken before God, in preparation for Christmas.

      If you are looking for additional resources, there is free downloadable for this season on my website

      It isn’t too late to discover the beauty of Advent my friend. Enjoy the journey.

      Peace to you.

  24. Sherri. Well written. To do with advent. You know your kids are blessed to have the story about Advent. Wrote by their Mother. To know the true meaning of it. What love you showed them in the story of Advent. What love you show them as your Mother. You have to stop and think about the Love our Lord has for us. Especially when he chose for our King of the world Jesus to be born in a humble stable. No fancy house or palace. Or I don’t know if there were Hospitals in those days. I say not. But our Lord knew the best place for the king of the world to born called Jesus. In a humble stable. To let the whole world know. Jesus was like me and you. Didn’t need an special place to be born. Like a palace or at Home. But what love that was. As if our Lord wanted he could have had Jesus king of world born in fancy place. So Jesus is just like us in may ways but without sin. Jesus came into the world to show us how to live. With lots of love for all mankind. We that are saved are too do the same love all mankind. Live as Jesus lived when on earth. Following his footsteps. That why our Lord had Jesus come into the world. Because he Loved so much. No greater love. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little keeping you all in prayer. Xx

    • Yes! This is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story. The shepherds of Jesus’ day were considered a despised class of people. They were the lowliest of the lowly. What a wonder that the King of all Creation chose to come as a peasant and announce his birth to shepherds watching over their flocks in the field.

      I am so thankful that God humbles Himself to walk with us on this broken world that waits in expectation for His ultimate restoration.

      Christ’s Peace to you, Dawn!

  25. Advent is a concept new to me because I did not grow up in a church that recognized it. Love you for sharing your personal advent. While the traditional advent is unfamiliar, my heart resonates with the personal one. With the past two years, I feel that is where we’re living through right now. Christmas shouts for joy. Advent weeps and waits, in hope, that though the night is dark, the Prince of Peace is on His way. Thank you.

    • Hello, Jean. I feel the same way about the last two years. Once again, the whole world waits for the Messiah to heal and restore us. He has promised to make all things new, and with all creation, we wait in expectation. He will be faithful. Peace to you, friend.

  26. I have never really known what Advent was. I am eager to learn more about it. Winning this book would be a great start. Blessings to you.

    • Hi, Stacey! Advent is a such a sweet time to prepare our hearts for Christmas. If you go to my website,, you will find free downloadable resources to guide you through my book, and this season. Thanks for stopping by, and may the peace of God guard your heart and mind this Advent.

  27. When my girls were growing up we always participated in the activities at church. I am in choir and we always do a musical presentation and sometimes the children participated. We have a Wed. night caroling and cookies night where everyone who shows up breaks up into about 3 groups and carols at shut ins and nursing homes. Then there’s the Christmas Eve candlelight service that we attended every year as well. I am still in the choir and we just had our musical last weekend. We don’t always get to do all of the things we used to so I miss that but we still make time to spend together.

    • What sweet memories! My girls are all big too now, but I cherish the memories of this season from when they were small. Christ’s Peace to you, friend.

  28. What a sweet story! I would love to read more like it in your Advent book. I enjoy doing Advent devotionals each year. They prepare my heart for Jesus. ❤️

  29. Our church is lighting a candle every Sunday for advent. We are also reading a book called Common Prayer.

  30. Of course we have advent candles but… my husband actually makes them. He rolls them using sheets of beeswax – for over 20 years now. It’s his craft…. it’s been our blessing to provide Advent candles to many friends and family!

  31. I love focusing in on the different names of Jesus from Scripture for every day of Advent… Prince of Peace, Emmanuel – God with us, Provider, Healer, Father, etc. So many beautiful names in which we can call out as His children!

  32. Sherri, this story is stunning. After spending more than two decades traveling to and serving orphans in Haiti, my heart was with you. I felt the emotions with you. Thank you for bringing us into Advent with such at vivid example of waiting.

    One of our Advent traditions is to light candles on Sunday nights, read scripture, and discuss it together. When my daughters were younger we read Christmas picture books every night of Advent to usher in the season.

  33. Advent is anticipating and getting ready… I love the process of advent. We use an advent wreath with candles. Over the years some I’ve followed through better than others but that doesn’t remove my love of it.

  34. Sherri,

    Christmas shouts for joy-oh yeah! Birth of any baby is something to celebrate So much more the birth of our savior. The world was/is dark & steeped in sin. Advent lights the way just like the star in Eastern sky did for wise men. Instead of rushing through December we should take this time to reflect on what happened 2000+ years ago. Ponder the fact that Jesus chose to be born in a smelly stable with noisy animals. Poor Mary tired from the long trip giving birth without medicines or a doctor. Mostly I remind myself that Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to come down to broken Earth to save us from our sins.

    Blessings 🙂

  35. My husband & I always do an Advent study together, where we read it aloud to one another then pray for the Lord to be glorified. Spending that time together reflecting on Christ is so tender and beautiful! This year we have 2 studies, one with just he and I and one were doing with our church community ♡

  36. I still have a felt advent calendar my mama made when I was a little girl. Each day I pull out an old felt piece that reminds me of my childhood. And now I can share it with my kids ❤️

  37. I’ve read a special Christmas book by Victoria magazine for years during Advent that filled with me Christmas spirit, peace and calm. These past couple of years, I started a new tradition to read a chapter of Luke every day during this season. This in a journaling bible, so I have the added benefits of having my collages, thoughts and prayers added to this experience.

  38. I hate to say it, but our “traditions” have been not traditional, and it makes me sad to even say it…our lives have been scattered without happy Christmas consistency, but maybe that consistency or overly traditional events would begin to lack meaning? Perhaps.

    Hmmm…this is a tradition of sorts: Since before my children were born (now adults) I have always bought them each a special Christmas ornament, meaningful somehow I had hoped for that year or season. In recent years, I try to find an ornament pertaining to the true meaning of the season and a Christmas type book and/or video for my grandchildren. They usually seem to like it. Soon I will give my adult children a box with many of those old ornaments from their grandparents and us.

    God bless and keep you all a this Advent and Christmas, especially when things can seem so dark.

  39. And most of all, Sherri, thank you for your, is it a “Tweet”? (I’m such a dinosaur!). It is what caught my eye and grabbed my heart to read your wonderful story! I needed to feel that understanding you expressed, for this is a time of waiting for serious deliverance and learning to trust our Lord more deeply through this hard time:
    “Advent…is about GIVING SPACEfor the hard places in which we STILL WAIT for deliverance.”

    I can wait, Abba, Daddy, right? I can give space to those hard places cuz I know you are in them. And though the darkness is oh so dark at times, Prince of Light and Peace, You WILL COME with healing and deliverance in Your Hand…You WILL COME. How I need You! How we need You!

  40. Thank you Sherri for your beautiful story. As I settle into my new surroundings here in Nashville (been here just 4 short weeks), I still feel overwhelmed at times with emotions from my past year. Trauma, heartbreak, divorce pretty much sums up 2021, but not without giving thanks and praise to the Lord. Within weeks of my initial separation from my former husband, puppy, and home, I had this epiphany of what God was going to do in my life. The way things began to fall into place from getting a therapist to see me face-to-face when there was “no room at the inn” so to speak, to ordering a new Bible and making daily time to read the Word of God, I could feel God’s peace in the midst of all the chaos. I came across a church in Nashville through one of my social media accounts and looked forward to connecting with the pastor and scripture every Sunday. I just knew that at the end of my divorce, I somehow would be living in Nashville. So here I am….and as I celebrate Advent without family or friends, I am just reminding myself that He brought me to this place and I cannot wait to experience and fulfill my purpose in a place of new beginnings. Peace and joy radiate my being and I can feel the excitement building. Many blessings to you and your family this joyous season!

  41. Sherri, Thank you so much for writing this article. The last seven years have been a time of waiting for deliverance. It is like you wrote this just for me. It is a word I desperately needed to hear. As I was reading this, the Lord told me that Christmas day is coming. Thank you and God bless your family. Merry Christmas.

  42. This story was so powerful. Thank you for sharing it. We waited 6 years for an international adoption, and since we were older and no end in sight to get a child, we withdrew from the process, hoping another family could get their child sooner. The waiting is hard. Maybe it was through that time that Advent became my favorite season in the church year. I feel drawn to the quieter season of reflection and waiting on the inside, even as the demands of the season want to pull me outward. In the past couple of years, I’ve been learning that it’s OK to let go of some of the expectations (my own and cultural) and listen for God’s invitation instead. I use an Advent devotional every year. I love that our new church celebrates Advent as a community by using a common devotional, having a weekly discussion over Zoom about the scriptures/ theme of the week and they prepare an Advent bag for every family that includes a few supplies for simple activities to do together. I love to sit in the quiet at the beginning of the day, Christmas tree lights on, my candle fountain (soothing water ambiance) and just be and breathe to start the day.