October passed by in a bit of a blur and I’ve been determined not to let that happen in November. Now, only days away from American Thanksgiving, I’m planning to enter into December with my whole heart. I don’t want to welcome hurry into my soul.
Here are five books (including affiliate links) that might help you enter into this Advent season with simple intention and quietness of heart.
Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative by Russ Ramsey
Format: December 1 – 25; A few pages of reading each day, revealing another plot point in the story of Jesus’ birth
From the website description: “Drawing from the hallowed pages of Scripture and with an eye toward both wonder and ground-level detail, Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative brings to life the people, the places, and the earth-shaking significance of the greatest story ever told-the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.”
Why I love it: For several seasons now I’ve enjoyed Andrew Peterson’s Christmas Album and live show, Behold the Lamb of God. This book is that musical narrative in book form. Ramsey writes: “I wrote Behold the Lamb of God to hide scripture in the heart by way of the imagination.”
Or an updated version of the same book: The Advent of the Lamb of God (Retelling the Story)
Preparing for Jesus: Meditations of the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Format: December 1 – January 6; Scripture Reading / Daily Reflection / Prayer
From the website description: “Through rich detail and vivid images, these moving meditations make Christ’s birth both intimate and immediate, allowing us to see Christmas from its original happening to its perennial recurrence in our hearts.”
Why I love it: I haven’t read this one yet but I ordered it to use for this year’s reading based on a recommendation. I like that, unlike some of the others, this one goes from December 1 all the way through to Epiphany.
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
Format: December 1 – 25; Scripture Reading / Short Narrative / Daily Reflection Questions
From the website description: “Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.”
Why I love it: I chose this book to read during December two years ago. Ann’s voice was a warm and kind companion during the early morning moments leading up the Christmas that year.
Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy
Format: December 1 – 25; Scripture Reading / Daily Reflection / One Reflection Question / Prayer
From the website description: “Come, Lord Jesus is a quiet invitation to sit with the weight of waiting, and recount the faithfulness of God, to trace the hope of Christmas, and prepare the way for Jesus’ coming into the world, into our own hearts, into our everyday, ordinary time.”
Why I love it: As an author, I receive a lot of books for free in the mail. But when I heard about this one, I bought it with my own cash money. It was the description that got me – an invitation to invite Jesus fully into the tension of waiting. The theme of waiting has been on my heart for a while now and I look forward to letting Kris lead me through it.
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by Annie Dillard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis + more
Format: November 24 – January 7; One extended essay per day
From the website description: “These fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us – not only during Advent, but every day. Whether dipped into at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase ‘holiday preparations’ new depth and meaning.”
Why I love it: Okay, so I’ve not read this one. But I’ve read the comparable book to this one for Lent, Bread and Wine. That book remains one of my favorites for reading during the Lenten season because of both the variety of contributing authors as well as the depth and perspective they offer.
I just realized all these books are blue. It seems fitting. Blue, in my mind, is the color of waiting, of the liminal space between the now and not-yet. I hope you’ll find a new friend among these recommendations. More, I hope this Advent season is one of hopeful anticipation of the coming of Christ in and around you.