I’m working on compiling a list of recommended books to read during Advent, and would love readers to chime in with books you’d recommend. These could be devotional books for adults, or for children and families…; prayer books, activity books… PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITES IN THE COMMENTS!!!
1. Here are a few books I personally can recommend, having read them in the past 1 – 2 years.
- Ann Voskamp: The Greatest Gift Recommended for women, especially. I found this a wonderful meditation on the theme of grace, and very helpful in terms of giving me practical ideas for how to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N in Advent and really keep Jesus at the center of my days.
- John Piper: Good News of Great Joy – Daily Readings for Advent (last year I was able to get this for free or for a very low price directly from Desiring God).
Note: It looks like John Piper has a new Advent Devotional out for 2014, but I’m not yet sure if the content has changed, or merely the date listed for each day’s reading… (The PDF version is free at Desiring God). I’ll check it out and will post more about this separately. (I’m a big John Piper fan… He’s a “Baptist who gets Advent!”)
- Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas – 40 essays and poems from theological writers such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth and Síren Kierkegaard. – Very meaty stuff. Not light fluffy Advent reading. Several of the essays are truly profound.
- Jessica Snell (editor) – Let Us Keep The Feast: living the Church Year at home (Advent) This is a good simple overview of Advent with some suggested family activities, crafts, recipes…. Jessica is a great friend of Lent & Beyond, and her blog Homemaking Through the Church Year should have lots of good Advent resources as the season gets closer. Check out her webpage on Church Year Resources. The “Let us Keep the Feast” series for the entire year is now available!
- Truth in the Tinsel: A guide for celebrating Advent with young children (excellent for Sunday school activities, etc.)
2. Here are a few books I’ve bookmarked and am thinking about for Advent this year… This is a VERY varied list. I may buy one or two of these books for myself, and others as gifts for friends and colleagues…
Note; in addition to the books listed below, I’ve recently posted entries on three other family Advent devotional books which look very worthwhile:
- Another Advent Family Devotional book: Prepare Him Room, Celebrating the Birth of Jesus with Your Family
Three books on Jesse Trees that might be of interest (I’ve not read these personally)
Advent Devotional Books (mostly for Adults) that have caught my attention:
- Billy Graham: The Cradle, Cross and Crown. A Brand New 64 page Advent devotional from Billy Graham, includes original poetry from his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham. [Having looked at this a bit more closely, I’d suggest it might make a better devotional for the Christmas season, in terms of its themes…, but I love the poems!!]
- The Irish Jesuits – Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2014-2015 (only 99 cents for the Kindle edition). Note: this is connected to the website of the Irish Jesuits, Sacred Space, which we have long recommended here at Lent & Beyond.
- Max Lucado: Celebrating Christmas with Jesus, an Advent Devotional. Short excerpts from various of Max Lucado’s devotionals focusing on various individuals’ encounters with Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. Not really all that “Advent-y” but daily readings from passages in the Gospels and good short reflections that might be helpful to some in keeping their hearts centered on Christ and the wonder of His love and mercy during a busy Advent and Christmas season.
- Max Lucado: In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent – similar to the above, but a bit deeper. The reflections are slightly longer and each entry includes a closing prayer. If I had to choose between the two Max Lucado books, I would choose this one.
- Guthrie, Hughes, Begg (editors): Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (paperback only) – an anthology of Advent-themed writings from ancient and contemporary authors (Whitefield, Luther, Spurgeon, and Augustine, and contemporary authors such as John Piper, J. Ligon Duncan, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, Skip Ryan, and Joni Eareckson Tada)
- Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers (paperback only)
- Christine Sine at Godspace / Mustard Seed Associates, who we link a lot here at Lent & Beyond, also has a bunch of really good Advent devotional resources and books available. Here’s the resource page from MSA. Several of Christine’s books are also available at Amazon. I’ll almost certainly be writing a stand-alone entry soon to highlight various Advent resources and blog entries from Godspace… staytuned.
- R. Scott Hurd – Daily Devotions for Advent 2014 (The Living Gospel) – 99 cents for the Kindle edition. This is a 64 page “classic style” devotional booklet, with a short opening prayer from the Psalms, a Scripture reading, a short reflection, an application / action, and a closing prayer. Fairly basic. The author was an Episcopalian and is now a Roman Catholic priest.
3. Here are some places you can find lists of good Advent-themed books
- Christian Book Distributors: Advent books list
- 25 Jesus-centered books to celebrate Advent (Christmas books for young children)
- Goodreads: Best Advent Devotionals list
- Bible Gateway: Advent Books list
You can find all our posts from recent years about ADVENT BOOKS here.
All our Advent 2014 entries are here.