Advent begins on Sunday, December 3rd. It means “coming” and is the season of preparation, the season of waiting before Christmas. It is a time of anticipation as we watch for the Light to come, and a time to prepare for that coming. The past few years, our family has made the practice of Advent more of a focus during our Christmas season; it is a practice that keeps me grounded during a season that can quickly overwhelm and engulf.
The practice of Advent in our family began unintentionally through the purchase of an Advent calendar when our kids were little. We hang the calendar every year; the kids still look forward to using it. Several years ago, we began doing an advent devotional together; last year we introduced the Advent wreath into our season. We don’t practice it perfectly, we often skip days in the devotionals, or forget to move the calendar along, but the simple act of having a plan keeps us going. Incorporating reminders of what what our souls are waiting for enriches the season.
I don’t know how you feel going into the Holiday season. I don’t want to add one more thing to your already full lists. But, if the practice of Advent is something you would like to introduce into your Christmas season, or if you already practice but are looking for additional resources I am excited to share what has worked for our family with you.
Advent Devotionals/Calendars for your Family
Every year Focus on the Family creates an Advent Devotional. We have used these the past three years and have really loved them. Most of them are offered as free downloads. (Yes, you read that correct, FREE!) They also have a few book options available for purchase.
Focus on the family also provides articles about Advent that are helpful in learning more about the season and ways to incorporate Advent celebrations into your families traditions (including how to use an Advent Wreath).
Of all the bible story books we have accumulated over the years (and we have accumulated quite a few), this one is my very favorite. It moves me every time I read it. I recently stumbled across a blogger who came up with an Advent reading plan using this bible story book.
It may be too late to get this in time for the first day of Advent, but some things are worth beginning a little late. This calendar is made up of a set of cards that were designed by one of my favorite artist, Lindsay Letters. The cards have a simple action/prompt on the back to help you connect more with others and Christ this holiday season.
Blogger, author and podcaster Tsh Oxenreider has a helpful post, 6 ways to keep Advent Simple, along with a list of resources on the subject of advent. This page includes devotional recommendations, playlists, and general information on simple ways you can keep Advent with your family. She has written her own Advent devotional which is coming out soon.
Advent Devotionals for You
Every year I try to find an Advent devotional to read during my own quiet time. Honestly, I never finish them, but I am always blessed by them.
1. Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey. Description from Amazon: Drawing from the hallowed pages of Scripture and with an eye toward both wonder and ground-level detail, Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative brings to life the people, the places, and the earth-shaking significance of the greatest story ever told-the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.
And if you want a musical soundtrack to go along with this devotional, check out Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God.
2. Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy. Description from Amazon: Come, Lord Jesus is a companion in the waiting season of Advent. It’s a quiet invitation to sit with the weight of waiting, and recount the faithfulness of God, to trace the hope of Christmas, and prepare the way for Jesus’ coming into the world, into our own hearts, into our everyday, ordinary time. With its offering of a daily reading, a reflection, prayer and one, or two reflective questions for you to contemplate, this book is a welcome “friend” to readers during the Advent, or any other season of waiting.
3. Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu. This is the advent devotional I am diving into this year. Description from Amazon: By focusing on the person and character of Jesus throughout the Advent season, readers will prepare their hearts so that when they admire the live nativity, sit in the candlelight service, or wake up on Christian morning, they can join the faithful who sing from the bottom of their hearts, "O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"
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PPS All other links are NOT affiliate links. They are simply resources I have found that I love and hope you will too.