Book Review: Joy to the World by Kathleen M. Basi

Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family has been on my (LONG!) list of books to buy and read so I was thrilled when I won it during one of RAnn’s Christmas in September giveaways.

Every year when the second week in November comes, I start to think about Advent and Christmas (Like many of us). I resolve to make Advent the spiritual season it was meant to be and NOT to get caught up in the secular, materialistic celebration of the season. This resolve has been particularly paramount the last few years as Andrew has become more aware of Christmas.

Alas, most years I start strong but has the weeks pass I get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, and lose focus. I get harried and rush and basically just try to survive the craziness. Then Christmas comes and I’m exhausted and wondering where the last few weeks went.

Hopefully, this year will be different since I will be taking a different approach and using this book. Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family is a small, but jam-packed book, that offers a selection of activities and suggestions for making Advent meaningful – and I can hardly wait to get started!

In this book, Kathleen reminds us of the “unique place Advent holds in the Christian calendar” – especially for us Catholics. BUT, she is is practical and shows us how to keep Advent in its place by showing us how to interject the Advent spirit into the many activities and obligations we have in preparing for Christmas. The result is the perfect marriage between the secular and spiritual aspects of the season!

Using traditional Advent activities, Kathleen outlines a daily plan that incorporates a morning and evening ritual, including a “good deeds” manger. The suggestions are simple; and yet, if we allow them, we may find ourselves deepening our relationship with the Lord – which is the purpose of Advent.

Besides the myriad of suggestions, there are two things I particularly appreciated about this book. First, is the reminder that in Advent we focus on BOTH of Christ’s comings: His birth and His second coming at the end of the world. And second, is the explanation of the Jesse tree. I’ve heard of the Jesse Tree, but it wasn’t a tradition in my family growing up so I never understood what it was about. Now I’m looking forward to starting this tradition in our family. ๐Ÿ™‚

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

(Affiliate links included, please see my disclosure policy.)


  1. Great idea to keep focus amid the holiday swirl!
    Sukhmandir Kaur…recently posted…Yuba City Annual Sikh Parade 2011My Profile

  2. SimpleCatholic says

    I agree! I can’t wait for Advent to start now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks, Carol! Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it helps you enjoy the season fully!
    Kathleen Basi…recently posted…Fiction Friday: DavidMy Profile

  4. Glad you won, and glad you liked it.

  5. I also enjoyed this book very much, Carol…thanks for posting your review…

    • SimpleCatholic says

      Thanks, Ellen.

      By the way, the review of your book (Stealing Jenny) is set to publish tomorrow. I’ll shoot you an email when it’s up. ๐Ÿ™‚


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  2. […] am a big fan of Kathleen’s blog and absolutely loved her Advent book, Joy to the World, so I was thrilled when Kathleen asked if I would review her latest book, This Little Light of […]

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