DOWNLOAD A READING PLAN
Narrative Advent Reading Plan – focuses on the continuity of the Advent story, including all the gospel Advent passages.
Traditional Advent Reading Plan – provides a variety of texts focusing on themes related to Jesus’ coming and coming again from various books of the Bible.
Bracelet Chain Reading Plan – Kim Sorgius has a ready to print – and cut and make into an Advent bracelet chain, for FREE at her site.
USE AN ADVENT DEVOTIONAL
Free and low-cost devotionals can be easily found through a Google or Amazon search, and probably your local public library. Reviews are provided to give you a sampling of what is out there.
Joy to the World! An Advent Devotional Journey through the Songs of Christmas
By Ray Pritchard $2.99 only on Kindle
You may like to incorporate a daily Christmas carol into your Advent devotional time. Ray Pritchard’s Kindle book is a nice complement to reading Scripture. Singing is probably best, but you may prefer to listen (or sing along with) the youtube videos he suggests.
Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2017-18
By The Irish Jesuits $2.95 NEW on Amazon
This small and thin book provides a daily passage from Advent and Christmas liturgical readings with strong questions and points to apply in the reader’s daily life. The Advent passages focus on the Jesus’ coming again, as well as His first coming. The readings and questions could be used and adapted for family devotions. Some users may be uncomfortable with the introductions to each week, as they use prayer guidelines and sometimes refer to Roman Catholic figures or holy days with which readers may be unfamiliar. There is also a seven-session retreat outline at the end of the book, which walks the reader through contemplation and prayerful meditation. A group might also use them.
God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
By Jana Riess with Dietrich Bonhoeffer $9.37 NEW on Amazon
Jana Riess’ book connects her reflections, excerpts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Scripture passages. It is aimed at deep thinking and feeling adult Christians. The book can be used any year as there are seven devotionals per week; there are also devotionals through Epiphany. Her four themes for Advent are Waiting, Mystery, Redemption and Incarnation. Many of her reflections are wonderful, but this reader found a couple difficult to understand.
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas or The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent
By Ann Voskamp $15.62 NEW, hardcover on Amazon, $23.99 for the family celebration pack at Barnes & Noble
Recommended by Priscilla Shirer, Max Lucado, Christine Caine, Liz Curtis Higgs and our own Meagan Hofer, The Greatest Gift is a best-seller. The family celebration pack is new. The devotional provides daily readings from the Old and New Testaments, a reflection by Voskamp, and questions for reflection and application. If you have enjoyed Voskamp’s other books, you are likely to love this one. The family celebration pack includes: 13-inch 3D pop-up tree, booklet with 25 family devotions, 24 ornaments with hangers and a star-shaped tree-topper.
CHOOSE A SPECIAL BOOK
In general, this might seem like a terrible time of year to choose a special book because we can feel so busy. Still, choosing the right one might help one’s personal quiet time.
The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs $12 new at Amazon
Liz Curtis Higgs’ focuses on three very different women: Mary, Elizabeth and Anna the prophet and digs into their experiences and ours today. She writes in simple and casual language, but shares relevant historical context, compares translations and suggests practical applications. She calls it “girlfriend theology”, something I take to mean it reads like you’re listening to a girlfriend, who has been reading the Bible a long time. Most chapters will take about 20 minutes to read, plus some more time to reflect and re-read sections. This eight-chapter devotional book is suited for individual reading and group sharing.