Believe it or not, Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 28th). Advent. Longing. A season where we get to be real about our deepest longings. A season where we express our hope of what is to come, along with our authentic struggle to endure the here and now. A season where we are given the freedom and permission to be real and raw. Advent means “arrival” or “coming.” We know what is coming, but we struggle in the present. Advent. A season I have come to love and eagerly anticipate with joy.
Below I offer ten recommendations for your devotional reading through Advent. Five are new to me that I haven’t read. I trust the authors, but have not (yet) read the books. Five are Advent devotionals I have read and recommend to you as worthy of consideration. The description underneath each link is the description provided from Amazon. I am still undecided, but I think I am going to give Tim Chester’s Fixated a try this year. The book of Hebrews is one I have always wanted to dig into and better understand. What resource are you going to work through this season? Which ones, in your opinion, have I missed?
Five Advent Devotionals I Recommend But Have Not (Yet) Read:
Fixated: Advent Meditations from the Book of Hebrews by Tim Chester
“We all know that Jesus ought to be the focus of our celebration at Christmas. And yet, we so easily fall into the trap each year of sidelining Him.
In these 24 Advent devotions, Tim Chester encourages us to look away from the distractions of our culture and instead by engrossed by Jesus. This might not sound very practical, but it is life-changing. Using the opening chapters of Hebrews as a tour guide, these devotions show us the key sights of the Lord’s glory and invite us to fix our eyes on Jesus this Christmas.”
Repeat the Sounding Joy: A Daily Advent Devotional on Luke 1-2 by Christopher Ash
“In this Advent journey through Luke 1 – 2, Christopher Ash brings these familiar passages to life with fresh insight, colour and depth.
As you soak up the Scriptures, you’ll experience the joy of Christmas through the eyes of those who witnessed it first hand, from Mary and Elizabeth to the Shepherds and Simeon. This devotional will help you to celebrate afresh the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah in history, and learn what it means to wait for him with joyful expectation today.
Each day’s reading includes a short reflection, a prayer, a carol, and space to journal, helping you to treasure the Lord Jesus in your heart in the hectic run-up to Christmas.”
A Weary World Rejoices: Daily Devotionals for Advent by Melissa Kruger
“For generations, churches and families have used Advent wreaths to help prepare for celebrating the Lord’s birth at Christmas. The evergreen wreath symbolizes eternal life and includes four candles—typically three purple and one pink, with a white candle in the middle that symbolizes the purity of Christ. Various traditions assign different topics to each candle, and the candles are usually given names to remind us of the good news of Christ’s birth
To celebrate this season, TGC’s editorial team put together 25 devotional readings that use the Advent wreath as a guide to focus hearts and minds on Christ during the month of December. Structured around traditional Advent themes—hope, peace, joy, love, and faith—these reflections will encourage your heart in this season of celebrating Christ’s first coming, and longing for his second.”
The Christmas We Didn’t Expect: Daily Devotionals for Advent by David Mathis
“Life is full of unexpected twists and turns and this has been particularly so in 2020.
But the most unexpected and significant event in the history of the world actually happened over 2000 years ago when God himself became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.
These Advent reflections, written by David Mathis, help us to lift our eyes to wonder of the incarnation and worship the one who came to save us and make our futures certain.
Be amazed once more by the unexpected details of Jesus’ unique birth and saving work with these short daily devotions and prayers, and renew your worship of our humble, generous and loving Savior.”
The Dawn of Redeeming Grace: Daily Devotions for Advent by Sinclair Ferguson
“Advent devotional for Christmas that will stir hope and inspire worship.
As dawn broke on that first Christmas morning, the sun rose on a new era: God’s king had come to earth to bring about his kingdom.
Join Sinclair Ferguson as he opens up the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel in these daily devotions for Advent. Each day’s reflection is full of insight and application, and will help you to arrive at Christmas Day awed by God’s redeeming grace and refreshed by the hope of God’s promised king.”
Five Advent Devotionals I Have Read and Recommend:
Come, Let Us Adore Him: Daily Devotionals for Advent by Paul David Tripp
“This year, don’t let Christmas sneak up on you again.
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.”
Celebrating Abundance: Devotions for Advent by Walter Brueggemann
“To ‘prepare for Christmas’ in our society is to be sucked into a vortex of indulgence, from decor to gifts to calorie-rich foods. Layer upon layer of tinsel, lights, and wrapping paper create the illusion of abundance, disguising the feeling of emptiness in our souls. The arrival of the Messiah, by contrast, is true abundance disguised by the impression of scarcity. Training our eyes to see through the rough stable, the adolescent mother, and the anxious escape to Egypt, we can see in that poverty and powerlessness the wonder of God’s abundant life and grace coming down to dwell among us.
This powerful devotional by best-selling author Walter Brueggemann includes daily reflections on the Scriptures and stories of Advent in order to invite us to see beyond the world’s faux extravagance and realize the true feast laid out before us. Twelve prayers are also included for the twelve days of Christmas.”
(A second Advent devotional by Brueggemann can be found here.)
Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ by Fleming Rutledge
“Advent, says Fleming Rutledge, is not for the faint of heart. As the midnight of the Christian year, the season of Advent is rife with dark, gritty realities. In this book, with her trademark wit and wisdom, Rutledge explores Advent as a time of rich paradoxes, a season celebrating at once Christ’s incarnation and his second coming, and she masterfully unfolds the ethical and future-oriented significance of Advent for the church.”
Watch For the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by Various Authors
“Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there’s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season.
Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us – not only during Advent, but every day. Whether dipped into at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase “holiday preparations” new depth and meaning.
Includes writings by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Sylvia Plath, J. B. Phillips, Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, Henri Nouwen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Kathleen Norris, Meister Eckhart, St. Thomas Aquinas, Karl Rahner, Isaac Penington, Madeleine L’Engle, Alfred Delp, Loretta Ross-Gotta, William Stringfellow, J. Heinrich Arnold, Edith Stein, Philip Britts, Jane Kenyon, John Howard Yoder, Emmy Arnold, Karl Barth, Oscar Romero, William Willimon, Johann Christoph Arnold, Gail Godwin, Leonardo Boff, G. M. Hopkins, Evelyn Underhill, Dorothy Day, Brennan Manning, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Romano Guardini, Annie Dillard, Martin Luther, St. John Chrysostom, Giovanni Papini, Dorothee Soelle, C. S. Lewis, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Philip Yancey, J. T. Clement, Thomas Merton, Eberhard Arnold, Ernesto Cardenal, T. S. Eliot, John Donne, Gian Carlo Menotti and Jürgen Moltmann.”
“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.
These 25 brief devotional readings from John Piper begin on December 1 and carry us to Christmas Day. Our hope is that God would use these meditations to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season.”