There are many ways to have a personal and/or family time devoted to God. Spending time in Scripture, prayer, meditation, song, study and exchange of experiences is something we can do each day.  To mark the Advent season as unique, we can pay attention specifically to the coming of the Christ child and the coming of Christ again.

When using an Advent wreath or candle arrangement, it’s common to spend time reading passages, prayers or daily devotionals on the theme.  You may also like to consider choosing a podcast or book for the season.

Common tools:

* Advent Reading plan with passages for each day

* Daily devotional book

* Choose a special book to read during one week of Advent or at a specific time each week.

* Online daily liturgical readings or devotionals

* Listen to an Advent podcast.


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.

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.

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.

There are a variety of online tools, so one may work for you.

Proverbs 31 First 5 App provides you with a devotional and Scripture passage that is estimated to take 5 minutes to read.  You choose the time for it to “bing” on your phone and there you go!  (We can’t guarantee that Advent will be the theme, but it’s one of the simplest apps to use.)  Check out:

Reflecting God Daily Devotional includes a passage and devotional from WordAction Publishing, a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene. In previous years, readings and devotionals during Advent reflected the season.  Check out:

Online Daily Readings or Liturgical Guides provide you daily passages related to the church calendar.  Some of the easiest to use are: (prayers, passage references and thoughts for the day – you will have to look up the passages) and (lectionary passages from the Roman Catholic church).  Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches also follow a liturgical calendar, but we did not find simple links online.

Listen to an Advent podcast. If you learn best by listening, it’s good to remember that our quiet time with God could mean listening to an audio Bible reading or a podcast. You might make a habit of listening once a week to a solid teacher from another church or corps that posts audio (or video) of Sunday sermons during Advent.  Or check out options like these

    • Ann Voskamp does not have a podcast, but contributes Advent reflections here.
    • Ravi Zacharias’ audio ministry is significant, you might find something on his general site, but a variety of options can be found here.
    • Louie Giglio’s three-part Advent sermon series from last year can be found here.