It’s my favorite time of the year! I have always loved Christmas time, but in recent years, my joy during this season has grown as I learned to celebrate Advent. Not having grown up in a liturgical tradition, I had no clue what Advent calendars or candles were or how the entire Christmas season could help me grow in my faith.
Advent simply means “coming.” In church tradition, the season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and represents a time of expectant waiting and preparation for Christ’s birth. The past few years, I have spent these four weeks focused on what God teaches us through the birth of his Son into the world. I have learned how waiting is a part of every human’s story. I have meditated on the fact that God is with us in every season. I have gained hope remembering what was accomplished through Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. Advent is a time to remember Jesus’ coming to earth in the past, but also looking forward to his second coming in the future.
You can read more about my love of Advent in my blog post from last year, but this year, I wanted to leave you with a few of my favorite Advent resources.
Immanuel: God with Us from Eden to Eternity by Daily Grace Co.
If you’re wondering what Advent study I’m doing this year, this is it! What I love about this study is it takes you through the entire Bible, looking at the ways that God has been with us from the beginning of redemptive history, and how we will be with him in eternity. It reminds us that the story of Jesus’ birth is not just hope for the Christmas season but hope for every day. Grab this study and join me in studying my favorite name for Jesus—Immanuel!
Between writing and posting this blog, the women’s version of this study sold out! You can still buy the men’s version (which has the same content but different aesthetic) or the children’s version.
Come, Let us Adore Him by Paul David Trip
Last year, my husband and I read this devotional together at night during Advent. Each day includes a short devotional and Scripture reading which points you back to Christ who is the center of Christmas. I liked doing this with my husband, as it gave us good opportunities to talk through Christmas traditions, especially since this was our first Christmas as new parents. The questions would also be great for families with older children to discuss together.
A Thrill of Hope by She Reads Truth
While I am not using their Advent plan this year, I have used She Reads Truth in the past for Advent readings. My favorite aspect of the SRT Advent studies is that you can download the readings to your phone through their app, which makes it easy to pull out and read in the little moments of the day. You’ll need to order the book as soon as possible to receive it by December 1, but if you miss a day, you can find everything on the app. This particular study I’ve heard great things about, as it uses more traditional Advent passages and focuses on the joy Christ provides to a “weary world.”
Advent Cards by Crew & Co.
We used these Advent cards last year with our daughter and plan to use them again this year! These cards accompany the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It includes a twine string and mini clothes pins to hang the cards on each day. We attached the twine to our daughter’s curtain rod, and every night we would read one story from the Storybook Bible then hang the card representing that story. What I love is that it teaches our children that Jesus did not show up in a manger out of nowhere; his birth is part of a grander story of Scripture.
I pray one of these resources helps you center your Christmas celebrations on Christ. Know that you don’t need to use these resources perfectly to have a “perfect” Advent season. Jesus Christ was born in a manger to live a sinless life and die a sinner’s death to cover our imperfections, including our imperfect Advent worship. Rest in the grace of Jesus this month of Advent and look forward to the day that he returns to make all things perfect in him.