I’m just going to say it: I love Advent. I mean, love. Imagine a Buddy the Elf level of zest for not Santa, but waiting in amazing anticipation for Jesus. I adore the liturgies, the candle rituals, evening scripture readings with the family from the Jesus Storybook Bible and withholding of Christmas hymns until that magical morning on the 25th. Yes, even those little waxy molded chocolates behind cardstock doors. All. Of. It.
Like many folks as we approach the holiday season, I am in search of that magical resource that will both re-invigorate awe and wonder in the anticipation of the coming birth of Christ and make my life easier in the hustle-bustle over-scheduled whirlwind that is November 24 through January 6.
If you too are seeking that magical resource, but are feeling Advent overloaded at the sheer volume of options out there, consider choosing a few off this custom-made list and integrating them into your own Advent rituals this year.
1. Mennonite Education Agency’s Advent at Home: How will we know? guide
Each year I wait with excited anticipation for the Advent at Home guide. The thoughtful reflections and rituals penned by Talashia Keim Yoder are a one-stop-shop for all your Advent needs. This free resource, available in English and Spanish, is full of both historical context and rich nourishment for all ages.
2. Nazareth to Bethlehem by Science Mike and the Liturgists audio guide
In this spiritual exercise, “Science Mike” explores the birth of Jesus (as recorded in Luke) with a rich score and soundscape by Michael Gungor. Participants walk in and among the narrative, seeing what the scripture has to teach them as they journey together from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
3. Two solid Advent devotional books with sincere hearts
Honest Advent by Scott Erickson is an invitation to awake to the wonder of God-with-us then, here, and now. Scott’s artistic mind evokes sacred insights and his illustrations inspire a new vision for the Advent story. This book can be used individually, but a digital, downloadable art show and group study resources are available on his website.
Low: An Honest Advent Devotional by John Pavlovitz names the discomfort that many experience during the holiday season. If you feel an unwelcome pressure to be merry and bright or if the consumer quality of Christmas is just too much, then this book is for you. God meets us, even in our lowest places, and in that accompaniment, there is hope.
4. For the young and the young at heart
The 25-Days-to-Jesus children’s advent devotional is an absolute treasure for young and old. As we count down from December 1 to December 25, all members of the family can dive deep into a daily scripture reading and emotive prayer creating a tradition you’ll want to repeat year after year.
5. Custom Digital Advent Calendar builder by MyAdvent.net
Looking for a way to celebrate Advent with loved ones near and far? Then the myadvent.net calendar is for you. Create free, customized digital Advent calendars by uploading your own photos, adding custom text, voice messages, and even YouTube videos. No ads, no credit card information required —just love.