‘Tis the season…to start planning for Advent! And oh-so-many other things but for today let’s just worry about Advent.
Advent was a big thing for us growing up. My most favorite as a kid was the Advent Adventure Series—which is included in the round-up below. We would light the various colored candles & snuggle up as a family each night. It remains one of my favorite memories to date and I can’t wait to do the same with our own kiddos someday.
Advent adds a whole other layer to Christmas and it’s a practice that I’ve found to be of the utmost importance. Amidst all the wrapping paper & cookie baking, we are brought back to the real meaning of Christmas. It helps to make the season feel intentional & purposeful—to stop the craziness & just focus on Christ.
So if you’re looking for some Advent inspiration, I’ve listed a quick round-up of my favorite series for all members of the family. I’ve added the direct links to each picture to make it nice & easy for you. 🙂
JUST FOR YOU
Joy to the World by SheReadsTruth & HeReadsTruth
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Join us this Advent season as we read the story of Jesus’ birth. From the earliest promises of His coming in the Old Testament, to the angelic messengers announcing His birth to the shepherds, this 4-week Scripture reading plan presents the biblical story of our need for Christ and the glory of His arrival.”
These Advent books are chock full of truth & meaningful insight as well as seasonal recipes, colorful maps, interesting facts, scripture mini cards, activity ideas, & holiday hymns. It’s a beautiful, individually designed book with space to journal your own thoughts on the reading from each day. The SheReadsTruth app/website pairs perfectly with each devotional—including reading plans & shared space with other readers. This year you can purchase a journal for both yourself & your hubby—meanwhile, you can add the Advent ornaments to incorporate your children. In recent years, I’ve always used this series because I’m a monthly subscriber & it’s always an excellent study. Surprisingly, this hasn’t sold out yet so hop on it if you’re interested.
*NOTE* This plan kicks off on December 3rd, order by November 23rd if you’re hoping to start along with everyone else. Of course, this can always be completed on your own schedule.
O Come Let Us Adore Him by the Daily Grace Co.
This is a perfect study for busier seasons. Each day includes passages of scripture to read with three, thought-provoking questions to answer. Each day focuses on a different name of Christ–a role that He fulfills. Ultimately developing an awareness & adoration of who He is.
*NOTE* If you are interested in this study guide, TODAY (November 22nd) is the last day that you can receive a digital version for FREE simply by subscribing to the Daily Grace Co. newsletter on their website. Unfortunately the Advent Books sold out within FOUR days and they do not have time to print more, so they constructed this free guide to utilize in it’s place. Technically they can be used together or apart.
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper
“The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year. But it is also a season of reflection and preparation for that special day when we mark Immanuel’s coming—the arrival of our eternal God in our own frail humanity. This is the greatest of history’s many wonders, something too stupendous to celebrate just on one day. Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas.”
I’ve always been a fan of Piper’s deep & thought provoking books. He has a way of breaking things down so that they are simple enough to understand without compromising the awesome, jaw dropping truths that are proclaimed throughout scripture. The readings are short but profound, focusing on the wonder of Christ’s birth.
Come, Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp
“The wonder and awe of the Christmas season can easily get overshadowed by lights, tinsel, bows, and paper—not to mention last-minute trips to the mall and visits to the in-laws. In all the hustle and bustle, we often lose sight of what’s most important. This book of daily readings for the month of December by best-selling author Paul David Tripp will help you slow down, prepare your heart, and focus on what matters most: adoring our Savior, Jesus.”
This is an intentional study that provokes deeper thought. Rather than many brief, singular thoughts–each day works together to promote a greater adoration of Christ, an understanding of Christ’s character & the implications of his birth in our lives.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu
“…participants will gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is. 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 Christmas morning, they can join the faithful who sing from the bottom of their hearts, “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”
This is a versatile book that can be used for individual study or to stimulate family discussion. Rather than exclusively studying the events of surrounding Christ’s birth, this book focuses on who Christ is. It can be a refreshing change of perspective for your Advent season.
2017 Advent Devotional by All Good Things Co.
“Friend, we know you don’t need more activities to oversee, more crafts to make, or more on your list of to-dos this Advent. Our invitation to you is to step out of the frenetic pace of the season to simply connect with Christ and with others. Our anthem this year is DO LESS! And as you remember and worship Jesus in simple ways through Advent, we pray you find that doing less means a whole lot more.”
This devotional is “journal style,” more simplistic allowing for your personal response & thoughts. Each day highlights one word that is commonly paired with Advent scripture, a brief thought on that passage, then room for you to jot down or doodle your findings. It makes for a very flexible yet thought provoking study.
FOR THE FAMILY
The Wonder of the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
“Based on her bestseller Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp expands her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree with this beautiful keepsake that can be handed down and enjoyed for generations. Each December, families can celebrate the coming of Jesus by opening the book to see a stunning 13-inch, three-dimensional Jesse Tree pop up from the page.”
This is truly a beautiful book, looking at Advent via a visual, pop-up Jesse Tree. First of all, what kid doesn’t love pop-ups? And secondly, can I get one for myself? The book features the tree with 25 ornaments to open each day & learn about while reading from an accompanying devotional book.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
“…Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme.”
This book is written like a storybook with beautiful illustrations. Personally, I like to look through it’s pages and it could be argued that I’m an adult.
Jotham’s Journey (Book 1 of the Advent Adventure Series) by Arnold Ytreeide
“In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters shepherds and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.”
THIS is the book that I was talking about before–you know, the series that we worked through as a family. Obviously, it’s fictional but the author expertly uses this story to highlight important Biblical truths. Written like a chapter book, each chapter ends with a cliffhanger (I was always dying to read the next one–it was quite painful) as well as a short excerpt with scripture & thought provoking text that would parallel with the story. I believe that this is appropriate as a read-aloud for all ages annnnd there are now FOUR more books in the series to use over the next few Christmas seasons.
Countdown to Christmas by Adventures in Odyssey
“Take the time this Christmas season to connect with your kids in a meaningful way while enjoying a very special Advent in Odyssey! Prepare for Christmas with 24 Adventures in Odyssey episodes―designed to help your family understand Christmas in a new and meaningful way. Use in conjunction with the Adventures in Odyssey Advent Calendar or on its own. This Christmas, start a new family tradition and have fun with your friends from Adventures in Odyssey.”
I’ve always had a fondness in my heart for Adventures in Odyssey, I still enjoy listening to a few episodes during a long road trip. Sometimes is easier to listen to an animated audio, attention spans and all that. But especially if you’re always on the go–you can easily listen to this in the car. I love that they have an optional activity calendar to complement the series if you’d like. This is a great option for ready to go fun, hands-on family advent–less pressure on you!
Well that is all I’ve got for 2017–I hope that you are able to find one that suits you for this upcoming Advent season. If you already have one picked out, what are you using? What’s a favorite from the past?
Happy almost-Thanksgiving (and Christmas season)! xx