Advent, Links, Poetry

While Bethlehem Sleeps: Author’s Note

For every book, there is a story behind the story. Here is the one behind While Bethlehem Sleeps: A Poetic Advent Devotional.

Author’s Note

            In 1995, my mother asked me to write the poem for her Christmas card. “Christmas Wonder” was that poem, and it remains a personal favorite. Since then, I have written a poem for her card and some for my own. Additional poems from church Advent readings joined the list. The result was nearly a book-length collection.

            I needed something to tie the poems together. The most natural way to do this was to use the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy, and love. (I also added a fifth theme of faith as a way to bring in the New Year.)

            But, something was still missing. As sometimes happens with writers, a phrase popped into my head. This phrase became the title and starting line for poems based on the biblical characters highlighted in the Christmas story. It also became the title for the book I self-published in 2012: While Bethlehem Sleeps.

            Since its publication, my father, Paul L. H. Olson, has been asked to teach Sunday School lessons on the subject of Advent. With my permission, he used my poems as the backbone for the lessons and wove in additional facts and stories about Advent and its themes. He has taught this course twice to-date.

            In 2016, we decided it was time to collaborate by bringing my poems and his lessons together into a devotional. Here is the result of that effort.

Our hope is that you will personally apply these lessons during your private devotional time as well as in your family observance of Advent. We desire a greater sense of peace and joy to enter your homes at this time. Above all, we pray love for one another and this cherished season will fill your hearts. May your heart, mind, and spirit awaken as you experience Advent through While Bethlehem Sleeps: A Poetic Advent Devotional.


Penny J. Johnson

November 10, 2018

Links, News, Publication Updates, Reblogs

Updated Blog Domains

Click on the blog titles below to be linked to their new domains!


Purposeful Ponderings Blog Title

About Purposeful Ponderings: Poetic Devotionals

Purposeful Ponderings: Poetic Devotionals comprise original poems and prayers based on scripture. Readers are encouraged to add these short devotionals imposed on a thematic image or series of images to their daily routine.

God’s poetry is the most divine. It is a source of solace, reflection, and wisdom. These are the songs of the souls who penned them from God’s direct inspiration while they lived through their experiences. They are the words we learn to memorize as children, but more importantly, cling to through our adult circumstances. These are the words we know because they suture our broken hearts.

For these reasons, I have decided that for my weekend posts I will write an expounded lesson about one of the Psalms, another book of biblical poetry, or a portion of poetic prayer set apart from the biblical narrative.

Blessings to all who read and glory to God alone. May my ponderings encourage your purpose.


Following Doc's Shadow Blog Title

About Following Doc’s Shadow: A Dog (Somewhat Cat) Blog

  • To chronicle my pets’ lives through a photo-journal highlighting persona poetry and anecdotal captions for photographs, videos, and illustrations.
  • To build awareness about canine rescue.
  • To encourage behavior education and breed research for pet and owner well-being.
  • To promote reputable, supportive websites and organizations.
Social Media:
  • Create of a responsive, photo-journal themed WordPress site.
  • Link a Facebook Page to the WordPress site.
  • Connect with trainers, breeders, and dog-lovers.
  • Reblog pet stories, photos, and websites (with permission and discretion).