Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Can I just say that I have almost an addiction to the Christmas season? There is something magical about this time of year. The songs, the decorations, the movies. The sound of the bell outside of the stores. Shopping for gifts for those I love. I was ecstatic when XM radio started their Christmas channels the first of November instead of after Thanksgiving, much to the annoyance of my kids and husband. Hands down it is my most favorite time of year.
A few years ago I added the celebration of Advent to my holiday preparations. What a powerful reminder of all that Christmas is about. Advent starts on the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day. Today we lit the prophecy candle or the candle of hope. (A great explanation of the Advent candles/wreath can be found HERE.) Watching the flickering flame while singing Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel brings me to such a place of peace in a life that seems so full of chaos.
When you add the celebration of Advent to the love of reading you get LOTS and LOTS of Advent books. So I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you. Some of for quiet contemplation and some are family activities for teaching this wonderful season to the little ones in your life.
My most favorite Advent book is Truth In Tinsel:An Advent Experience For Little Hands. I used it a couple of years ago to teach my grandchildren about Advent. The book helps you remind your children/grandchildren that Jesus is the best present of all. Every day is a simple scripture, an ornament to make, and a time for reflection about what the Christmas season is all about. It is primarily for ages 1-5 but can be adapted to older kids. It is an ebook which has fantastic Printable Ornaments to use as teaching tools. You can find out more information about Truth in Tinsel HERE.
Another book is Welcome Baby Jesus by Sarah Reinhard. This book is available in ebook or in paperback. It also has a scripture a day, a reflection to discuss, and an activity. Her reminder to us is to Think, Pray, and Act and to remember that nothing we do during this time is secondary to the arrival of the Messiah. This book is for families although I think anyone would be able to appreciate the care put in to each of the 25 days and would be blessed by the activities. Because truthfully aren’t we all just kids at heart?
A new book I recently had the pleasure of reading was Advent in Narnia by Heidi Haverkamp. It is exactly what you think it is. A journey through the Advent season with one of Christianity’s most beloved authors, C. S. Lewis and his The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Every page I turned brought back happy memories of the treasures found while reading about the adventures of Narnia. It is designed to be read with or without the book. I must confess I read the entire devotional before I began my Advent season and I am looking forward with anticipation to reading it again during the coming days. In no way did it diminish the message of the Messiah to be using Narnia as part of the story. If you have read anything about C.S. Lewis, you know that his entire series was an allegorical story about Jesus and God’s creations. (find out more about the book HERE) The book can be used individually, as a family, or even as a small group.
Walking Backwards To Christmas by Stephen Cottrell is another great book to really get deep into the message of the coming of the Messiah. It is for older teens through adult. It is a beautiful reminder of every person who played a part in the story of the coming birth of Christ. In addition to the daily scripture, you see the story through the eyes of each person. From Mary and Joseph to Herod to Simeon to Anna to the little shepherd boy, you will be reminded of the depth of what led up to Christmas Day. It is a fantastic book for a small group as well as for anyone wanting to go deeper into scripture during this coming Advent. I can tell you that I can’t wait to read through it again, this time with much more consideration for each member of the Christmas story.
Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel’s Messiah by Albert Blackwell is a journey through Advent using Handel’s Messiah. How wonderful is that! I can’t tell you how excited
I was to receive this book to review. Every verse, every scripture, every note brings chills to the reader. The power and majesty behind the music combined with the message of the Messiah make this one of the most worshipful Advent books I have ever experienced. Getting to listen to a portion of Handel’s Messiah every night during the Advent season is such a bonus!
Today I finally received a book I have been waiting for. I have only been able to read through the first couple of chapters but WOW! I know this will be a keeper. It is Wonder Of Wonders: Christmas with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The photography, the scriptures, and the reflections in this book are so beautiful. This is a book for deep meditation about the miracle of Christmas and the coming of the Messiah. This book invites you to sit down in front of the flickering Advent candle with a hot cup of tea and sink deep into the love of Christ. While not a traditional Advent type book, your soul will be soothed and calmed by the words from a beloved follower of Christ.
Finally, a light read for those moments when you are waiting in line or sitting in on the train during this busy season. A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories For the Christmas Season by Katherine Paterson will bring a smile to your face. Full of happy stories of miracles and magic, love and joy, this book is also a great book to give to someone who needs a smile. I think this would be a great book to read to your children as everyone gets ready for bed. It is a good reminder that there is always hope even when it seems so dark.
Even though yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent you can light the candle tonight. I really don’t think our Father in Heaven will mind you being a little late. Doing a quick google search of “25 days of family advent activities” and clicking on the images tab will bring up thousands of ideas. Also pinterest is full of ideas.
During this first week of Advent, the week of hope and prophecy “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom 15:13) I would love to hear how you celebrate the Advent season. I am always looking for more ways to make this season even more special.
©2015MichelleWelch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
There are affiliate links in the post which provide me with a small percentage of the sales. It does not affect your price in any way. I use the money raised for my Compassion International child Marta and her family in Guatemala. Any additional money is used for The Seed Company which provides Bibles in native languages to people in other countries.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.