Set against the backdrop of all the Christmas business that threatens to overwhelm us, the season of advent proves to be a blessing. It calls us to pause and to find hope afresh in the Christ child. Here are three fantastic devotionals that will help you and your family care for your soul this Christmas season.
The Weary World Rejoices
Put together by the editors and writers of the Gospel Coalition, this five-week devotional contains focused meditations centered upon the traditional themes of the advent wreath that can be used in a variety of ways. Each of the 25 devotionals begins with a Scriptural passage and then moves on to a 1–2-page reflection that feeds into a response section that contains a couple of questions that will help the reader (and if applicable the reader’s family) to apply the message to their life. Each devotion ends with a rejoice section that highlights a hymn. This 117-page devotional devotes 5 readings to each of the of the 5 advent themes that churches often focus upon when lighting their candles: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Faith. The book can be read from Dec 1- Dec 25 or can be used once or twice a week to compliment your family devotions. I will be using modified selections from this book for some of our church’s advent readings and will also be reading this book with my kids during our family devotions. If you are looking for an advent devotional that will emphasize the traditional themes of advent through faithful exegesis of the Scriptures, I encourage you to grab a copy of this book.
Repeat the Sounding Joy
Christopher Ash’s 153-page book beautifully applies Luke’s account of the Christmas story to our lives over the span of 25 devotionals. Each day begins with a passage from Luke which then is followed by 2-4 pages of exposition that apply the Scriptures to the fears, struggles, traditions, expectations, and hopes that shape our holiday experiences. At the conclusion of each devotional, the reader will find a suggested hymn, prayer, and space to write down their own reflections. If you long to know the theology behind the first Christmas story better, I encourage you to grab a copy of this fantastic devotional. My family and I worked through it last December and were encouraged by Ash’s gospel-centered meditations which helped us to appreciate what Jesus has done and what he promises to do again. Adults, teenagers, and families with older kids intent upon enriching their faith this advent season would do well to spend this December reading their own copy of Repeat the Sounding Joy.
Gifts of Grace
Jared Wilson wants this book to serve as a spiritual advent calendar that presents its readers not with a Lego minifigure or a piece of chocolate but with something far more sustaining….one of the “myriad of gifts that Christians receive through the coming of Christ and belief in his gospel.” Not only is Wilson’s advent devotional quite readable, containing fantastic lines such as “Santa Clause is a big, fat legalist,” it is also profoundly theological. Each of the 25 devotions found in this 136-page book opens with a Scripture passage before turning to a story that guides the reader from fun reflections to deep theological meditations tied to terms such as propitiation, expiation, and idolatry. Each of the 4-page devotionals also contains a Christmas song theme that are clearly laid out in the book’s last two pages. Those looking for a fresh, engaging (you’d be hard press to find another devotional that mentions Donald Duck), and yet theologically sound devotional for their quiet times or their family’s devotional time should order a copy of Gifts of Grace.