Do you know what November 27 is? It’s the start of advent! And now, you probably have another question: What is advent?
Historically speaking, it is when Christians set aside the four Sundays that proceed Christmas to fast and pray. It is a time where the church contemplates the full implications of what it means that God become a man to save sinners. Although not a necessary practice, observing advent can help us and our families focus on what Christmas is really about. As we set aside time to pray, meditate on the Scriptures, and to sing, we can help our families see that, “To understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, the Gospel.” In short, this Christmas season is a great time for family worship and for sharing Christ with our children. Below are three great resources that will help us do just this this December!
3 Great Resources For Advent
Designed around nativity scenes, lighting candles and Scripture, the book is newer resource with a traditional feel. The devotions are built on the biblical Christmas story and also are tied to the compelling story of thieving orphan. In addition to being biblical and easy to understand, the devotions are also infused with object lessons, Christmas carols, and crafts. Marty Machowski has helpfully planned out your entire family’s Christmas devotional calendar. Moreover, you can download the music mentioned in the book here. And you can buy a teacher’s guide here if you want to bring this study into your Sunday school class room.
This great little book is designed for your children by a Children’s Pastor. Each devotion contains a Scripture passage, a small explanation of the verse(s) and 2-3 questions (with answers) to prompt some family discussion. There is also a small question to help the parent apply the passage to their life. This book begins on December 1 and ends on the December 25 so it does not follow the traditional advent calendar and it does not come with song suggestions. But if you are a touch creative and have young children, I think you will really like this Christmas/advent guide.
These thoughtful two-three page devotions are gospel packed and will make you think more highly of Jesus. My wife and I have read this little book together. It has proved to be an encouragement to our souls and has helped to keep the Christmas story fresh. The devotions are not directly tied to Christmas carols or to the traditional advent wreath. But in terms of helping us mediate on Christ, I have found none better. This is a great resource for those on the go and for families with older children, or younger children who are mostly passive participants (i.e. the babies!).
And if you like this Piper resource, I encourage you to also get The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. Very similar in style and to Good New of Great Joy, this book focuses more on the secondary or theological texts of the Christmas story looking at Acts, Hebrews and the Pauline Epistles.
Have your forgotten why Christmas is so magical? Then this book will do your heart good. Timothy Keller pithily unpacks the Christmas story in a fresh manner that helps us to realize just how amazing it is that light of the world appeared as a little baby in Bethlehem. This is a great book for moms and dads to read this Christmas season, especially once the kids are out of school and are asking for ten’s and twenty’s!
Keven DeYoung with illustrations by Don Clark
Kevin DeYoung invites families to come cuddle up by the fire as they listen to the Christmas story. But instead of starting with gospel of Luke, or the Shepherds or even baby Jesus, DeYoung begins the story in Genesis. From Genesis on, he shows how all of the Bible’s stories point to Jesus. The Christmas story is not about a baby. It is about a king who redeems his people from their sin. A King who rescues the lost and who will one day take men and women back to a paradise that is even better than the one Adam and Eve left. Divided into ten short chapters, the book could be your advent reading this December or could be a great way to read the Christmas story on December 25! And as an added bonus, Crossway released an animated version of this book on DVD earlier this year. I encourage you to check it out here!