I love Advent. How often in the church do we pause to think about the apocalyptic truth that Jesus is coming again? When else do we gather together to wait and watch for the coming kingdom? What could possibly be better than Isaiah 40 and Luke 2 and Revelation 21 all in the same season?
It’s the best, I tell you.
Yet like most good things, Advent is better with friends for the journey. Here are five fabulous resources for Advent, from my heart to yours.
- Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
This gorgeous guide features wisdom from modern-day saints like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, and Jane Kenyon. It’s broken up into daily devotional readings that start at the end of December and carry through to Epiphany on January 6. I reread this one each Advent season and find new nuggets of light each and every time.
2. Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent
Enuma Okoro’s guide focuses on two of the lesser-known figures of Advent: Elizabeth and Zechariah. It is also written as a daily devotional, and Okoro regularly paints such a compelling picture of the work of God in and through us in this season that I regularly have to stop, take a moment, and reread her words again and again.
3. Easy Advent Readings for Wiggly Kids
What? YOUR kids won’t sit still for a meditative reading of seasonally-appropriate Scriptures either? NO WAY!
(I kid. Obvs.)
With young kids, we’ve found that our best bet is just a verse or two of Scripture, coupled with the lighting of a candle (fire!) and then a post-reading treat (sugar!). We pray a short prayer (some nights nothing more than, “Dear Jesus, thank you that you bring us peace”) and are on our way.
The perfect can so easily become the enemy of the good. In the early seasons of parenting (and grandparenting!) a little regular spiritual practice is better than occasional or rare heavy hitting.
4. Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ
This is a book of collected sermons and lectures from one of my favorite living theologians, Episcopal priest Fleming Rutledge. Not only does she weave together masterful reflections on the season from Scripture, but she regularly references popular culture, national and international events, great literature, and works of art.
Her sermons make me want to be a better preacher, and her reflections on Advent are heartening, challenging, haunting, and profound. This is a thicker, more academic book, but well worth the effort.
5. Advent Reflections: a free blog series right here!
I am BEYOND excited to share this blog series with you, friends. A host of gifted, thoughtful writers have each put their fingerprints on a particular word from the Advent season, centering their devotion on Scripture. I alternately laughed and cried as I edited them for the blog – they are just that beautiful.
Each weekday during Advent the blog will feature a short reflection from powerhouses Paul J. Pastor, Alicia Akins, and Andi Cumbo-Floyd, artists Moriah Conant, Bethany Rydmark, Bethany Erickson, and Bethany Beams (what can I say? I have a thing for Bethanys!), faithful guides Kristen Kludt, Christopher Upham, Joel Erickson, and Marvia Davidson, pastoral presences Anna Woofendon, Daryl Ellis, and Steve Austin, and wise leaders Cara Meredith, Chara Donahue, and Sarah Sanderson.
I can brag about its awesomeness because I didn’t write a word. It was a gift to me and I pray it is a gift to you, friends.
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Happy Advent, all. May God be with you in your waiting.