I love the whole advent season. The expectation. The joy. The peace that comes when we make it a priority.
In recent years, a variety of new advent reading resources have become available to really enhance your holiday season. Here are some of my favorite finds.
I have been following this incredible online project from Biola University’s Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts for the past few years. Each selection of writing, music, art and poetry is hand selected and curated. I have been introduced to some beautiful things I never would have seen or heard except through this project. View past years here. They also have a Lent project. Sign up by email on their site.
I have a version called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas that I do with my children, but she also has an edition for moms looking for their own advent reading.
The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional is a great way to focus on the story of Jesus (beginning in Genesis) throughout the holiday season. Ann has a way with words and an emphasis on gratitude that is not to be missed.
If you purchase the book, you can access 27 printable ornaments that you can use along with the readings.
John Piper has a podcast of 25 Christmas devotionals called Good News of Great Joy taken from his book of the same name. He also has another devotional he wrote for advent called The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. Either of these would make a wonderful holiday advent option and can be downloaded free from Desiring God.
Advent with Handel’s Messiah
This is actually 3-in-1 because apparently this is a really popular way to do the advent season.
From Amazon: Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from Messiah, the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor.
Next is Circe Institute’s Hallelujah: A Journey Through the Advent with Handel’s Messiah.
This book contains daily readings, scripture and insight from Cindy Rollins, Karen Kern, Brian Phillips, Greg Wilbur, David Kern, Lynn Bruce, & Kerry Williamson. I recently listened to Cindy’s Mason Jar podcast with contributor Lynn Bruce and it got me right in the spirit. There are also recordings with other contributors available with a donation of any amount to their Patreon page.
Last but not least is Ordo-Amoris’s schedule with daily scripture readings and music selections from Handel’s work.
This collection of 50 advent readings includes Madeline L’Engle, St. Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and many more! It can be treasured for many years to come.
I was ready to wrap up this list and then Nancy Kelly posted about this breathtaking book filled with art, stories of artists and advent thoughts from Paraclete Press. Perfect if Christmas isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year for you. I’ve already ordered it and look forward to its arrival just in time for Christmas advent.
“In twenty-five illustrated daily readings we commune with Scripture and the wounded artists that gave the world masterpieces of hope: Gauguin, Tissot, Caravaggio, Tanner, Delacroix, van Gogh, Dürer.” —from Paraclete Press
In addition to these ideas, check out Nancy Kelly’s picks for more advent reading at Sage Parnassus. I’ll be posting more family ideas soon.
What is your favorite advent reading resource?
Want more ideas?