3 Helpful Advent Devotions

To keep Christ in Christmas, we need to do more than wear catchy slogans woven into tacky Christmas sweaters. We need to commit to reading the Scriptures, reflecting on the Biblical themes of expectation, fulfillment, peace, salvation, and redemption (to name a few) that comprise the Christmas story. I have found Advent devotionals to be useful tools. They have helped me and my little family to pause and reflect upon the glorious realites wrapped up with baby in the manger. If you are looking for a Christmas devotional that you or your family could use this December, I encourage you to grab 1 of the 3 titles below. If you currently don’t gather the kiddos or spouse for family worship, I encourage you to make use of this Christmas season. Grab a devotional and start a new tradition on December 1 built on the eternal truths of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we be faithful to make much of Jesus today and always!

Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

John Piper packs 25 meaningful devotions into this 63-page book. Each devotion extends across 2-3 pages, beginning with a Scripture passage and ending with helpful applications that challenge our hearts. I came into contact with this book shortly after its publication in 2013 and have repeatedly returned to the volume because Piper writes with a simplicity and potency that beautifully illuminates the purpose of Christmas. April and I have used this book for our family devotions on more than one occasion. I encourage you to grab a copy of the book here. It gets even better. If your Christmas Bank Account has run dry or if you simply want to preview the book before committing to it, you can download it for free here.

Joy Upon Joy: An Advent Devotional

This short 128-page book features 25 Advent readings taken from the sermons of Charles Spurgeon. In typical Spurgeon fashion, the devotionals feature a short verse or phrase and then two pages of Spurgeon’s commentary on the meaning of the words followed by a few lines for notes and personal reflections. Spurgeon has a unique way with words that draw out the deep truths of Christmas. If you love Spurgeon, reading sermons, or desire to see Christmas through a slightly different and yet profound perspective, I encourage you to grab a copy of this devotional here. If you can handle reading the occasional old English phrase out loud, this book can well serve your family worship time. If you wish to explore Spurgeon’s Christmas sermons in more depth, I encourage you to visit the Spurgeon Library Website at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary here. And then, search for “Christmas”

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas

In this 142-page volume, editor Nancy Guthrie gifts her readers 22 devotions taken from sermons that have helped Nancy reflect upon the richness of Jesus’s birth. She taps into a wide selection of authors, featuring the thoughts of Augustine, Martin Luther, J.C. Ryle, Alistair Begg, and many more. The chapters feature a Scripture reading, followed by 3-5 pages of reflection, encouragement, and admonishment. Nancy designed her book to serve as a short evangelical Anthology of Advent that provides readers with the space and theology to taste the glories of Christmas anew. Though the volume does not translate well into family worship settings with little kids, I have benefited with the depth of this book and have referenced during my sermon prep. I encourage you to grab a copy here.

6 Resources That Keep Christ in Christmas

6 Resources Christmas 2016Call me sentimental, but I’ve always loved Christmas. As a kid, I was all about  velcroed sheep, lighting candles, and singing Christmas carols. Christmas was one of the few times my unbelieving, childish heart was ok with Jesus stuff. Of course, I was way more excited about the presents under the tree than the advent wreathe on the kitchen table. But even as a youngster I saw that both had their place.

Christmas is always a great time to make much of Christ. It’s a great time to start family devotions and to talk to our kids about the glorious of the gospel. Below I’ve listed some the best resources available (i.e those that go beyond writing “Merry Christmas” on red coffee cup) that help our families keep Christ in Christmas!

 

The Biggest Story – $12.57

Keven DeYoung with illustrations by Don ClarkBiggest Story Every Told

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. It is about a savior who brings Adam and Eve’s kids back into paradise. It is about a King who rescues the lost. 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!

 

Prepare Him Room – $13.49

Marty Machowskiblog ready prepare him room

Designed around nativity scenes, lighting candles and scripture, the book is wonderful, 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 and Christmas carols. Marty Machowski has helpfully planned out your family’s Christmas devotions.

 

Good News of Great Joy – $7.19

John PiperGood news of great joy daily advent

These thoughtful two-three page devotions are gospel
packed and will make you think. My wife and I have been reading this little book together. It has proved to be an encouragement to my soul and has helped to keep the Christmas story fresh. The devotions are not directly tied to Christmas carols or the traditional advent wreath. But as devotions, I have found none better. This is a great resource for those on the go and with older children.

 

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – $7.99

John Piperblog ready dawn 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 Christmas looking at Acts, Hebrews, and the Pauline Epistles. It is a great resource, highlighting the beauty of our savior in short, two to three page devotions.

 

Buck Denver Asks: Why Do We Call it Christmas? – $12.99

Phil Visherblog ready why do we call it Christmas

Do you know? If not or if your kids have questions about the origin of Santa, gift giving, caroling and a host of other Christmas traditions, you should join Buck Denver for his Christmas party. Made by the creator of Veggie Tales, this almost hour long DVD is filled with puppets, songs, and animations that will help us all focus more on the Christ child! 

 

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories in 5 Minutes – $10.74

Gospel ProjectBible Story in five minutes

As the T.V. ad goes: long title amazing results. Admittedly, this book is not solely devoted to Christmas, but it does have one of the best retellings of the Christmas story. Beautifully illustrated, the book offers both an engaging and accurate account of Jesus’ birth, beginning with the Angel appearing to Mary and ending with Jesus’s flight to Egypt. And the best part about this story is that it only takes five minutes to read. This book is perfect for children everywhere.