I know, I know, I know…it’s only October…we all hate that Christmas decorations are already being sold at Walmart…not yet with the carols, please!!!
But (at least) one thing bears thinking about a little early as the Advent Season approaches.
Have you ever done a family Advent devotional? I love the Advent season and one of my favorite things to do – yes even now that my little ones are gone and it’s just me at home – is an Advent devotional reading, complete with lighted candles and singing a carol. It’s such a great way to anchor my soul in the “reason for the season” our Savior Jesus Christ.
How many Christmases have ended with you feeling like your family somehow missed what it was really about? How many times have you cleaned up acres of wrapping paper and ribbon while clutching your stomach over-filled with yuletide feasts and wondered why it was so hard to hold the right focus?
Now is the time to do a little browsing online, chatting up friends who have done Advent devotionals before, wandering the Christian book store to find the right thing for your family – something that will point you all to Jesus and pull you all together to enjoy the warmth of the blessing of your family in what always threatens to be a pulled-apart time of year.
A terrific added bonus to starting the Advent devotional tradition is that it can help you build a family devotional tradition all year round. Has it been difficult or impossible to build a devotional habit in your family? Have you failed at figuring out how to even start? Have you met with resistance when you have tried? The fun of lighting candles, counting down the days to Christmas and hearing the most poignant story of the Bible told in a child-and-adult-friendly way can pave the way to a year-long enjoyment of those special minutes together each day.
To get you started, I’ve listed a few Advent Devotional materials that our family has used over the years and some that have been recommended to me – feel free to comment with your own suggestions!
Hint: Light the candles every day, not just Sunday – and add a Christmas carol if the devotional you choose doesn’t have one – you will all get familiar with them for years to come! Don’t wait!! Allow for shipping time and remember how busy you will get before you know it!!
Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional by Marty Machowski
Bartholomew’s Passage, Tabitha’s Travels and Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide – we used one each year.
The Miracle of Christmas by Stormie Omartian
A Different Kind of Christmas by Mike Slaughter
The ADVENTure of Christmas: Finding Jesus in our Holiday Traditions by Lisa Whelchel
Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles by Elyse Fitzpatrick
For very young children:
The Christmas Story for Children by Max Lucado
Christmas Prayers for Bedtime by Jean Fischer
For adults and spiritually mature teens:
God is In the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper
Good News of Great Joy by John Piper