Nov 17, 2019 • Written by Judy Episcopo
Christmas is Coming…Are You Ready? Some Suggested Readings
What is Advent and why would a few books about Advent help me this Christmas season?
Advent is traditionally known as the period of four Sundays and four weeks before Christmas and means “Coming” in Latin. You know, as in Christmas is coming- I better get the gifts, bake the cookies, deck the halls, and …why am I doing all this? With this type of “Advent” I need more than four weeks! It helps my perspective when I remind myself that my hospitality mentor and Christmas décor muse Martha Stewart did end up in jail for something that may or may not have been related to Christmas preparations.
Advent’s true meaning is a spiritual one of waiting and preparing for the birth of Christ. I confess, the secular definition fights to take over my life. When that happens, I find myself depleted and stressed. Christmas becomes something else to check off my list of obligations until next year. I completely miss out on taking the time to remember and celebrate why the coming of Christ is so foundational to God’s redemptive plan for my life and for the rest of the world.
I need help with this, and Advent books and devotionals along with my Bible come to my rescue. They provide tracks for my heart to run on and help me find my way back to the true reason for the season: Jesus.
Here are just a few of my favorites. You can find them on Amazon, and I've provided links if you are interested.
The first one I recommend is Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift.” Voskamp explores the lineage of Jesus using the Advent tradition of the “Jesse Tree”, which is the family tree of Jesus. This book is a great reminder of how the Christmas story stretches all the way back to the beginning of humanity and is made up of people like you and me. The link can be found here.
Or, if you are looking for something children can do as a family, here’s another great book from Ann Voskamp- “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift ~ a Family Celebration.”
Another of my favorite Advent books is by Nancy Guthrie called Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Some of you may recognize Nancy as one of our Encounter retreat speakers from a few years back. Her book is an anthology of Advent readings collected from the writings and sermons of 22 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers such as Whitefield, Luther, Spurgeon, and Augustine. Modern day and leading contemporary communicators such as John Piper, J. Ligon Duncan, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, Skip Ryan, and Joni Eareckson Tada are also used.
I enjoy this Advent book because it has such a rich diversity of contributors and Christian scholars across the ages that all believers in Christ should be familiar with. Click here for more information.
Again, if you are looking for something for the whole family, Nancy has also written her own family devotional with activities and daily devotionals you can read together. Click here for information about “Let Every Heart Prepare.”
How many of you remember Liz Curtis Higgs, another Encounter speaker? She is full of personality and fun, and she’s also a woman with words of wisdom. I love her writing in her Christmas devotional seen through the eyes of three Biblical women Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Her book is titled appropriately enough, “The Women of Christmas.”
Let’s get some male authors on the list too! Paul Tripp is one of my favorite authors, and he has written an Advent book that I bought for myself to go through this Christmas season. It is called, “Come Let Us Adore Him.” Even though I have not read it yet, I doubt you will be disappointed.
Another of my all time favorite Christmas writers is best-selling author and master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. In his Advent book, “Preparing for Jesus” he takes the events in the Gospels leading up to the birth of Jesus and draws me into the familiar story in a fresh and intimate way.
Finally, our Women’s Ministry Team plans on going through a new Advent study together this Christmas season published by Lifeway called,The Weary World Rejoices. It is written by the women at Lifeway and provides devotionals and family activities to help us focus on celebrating Christmas in a worshipful and meaningful way. What truly attracted me to was the title. If I lose the true Christmas perspective, I will definitely be a woman wallowing in weariness.
So ladies, there are just a few of my favorite Advent books! Do you have any you can share with us?