As a child, the word Advent meant one thing and one thing alone. Chocolate! I remember each year trying to be patient and only eat the chocolate prescribed for that specific day. Usually, a sort of bargain happened where I would eat 2-5 chocolates and then wait the appropriate amount of days before indulging again. It wasn’t till adulthood that I became acquainted with the deeper meaning of the Advent season. In a chaotic, sinful world, Christmas so easily becomes a time of stress, frustration, and greed. What a gift it is to respond to the invitation of the Advent season, to enter into the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love that only Christ can bring. However, it is also a season that considers the many years the world waited for their savior and identifies with that waiting as we ourselves look for Christ’s return. Advent is a time that allows for tension, for unanswered questions, for longing.
I have collected some resources to help you intentionally enter into this season and to focus on the true gift we have received – Christ.
Goodness and Light This daily devotional features writing from Pope Francis, Richard Rohr, Harper Lee, Phyllis Tickle, etc. I just started reading it this weekend and so far am enjoying the variety of voices
God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas Another daily devotional featuring writing from some fantastic Christian voices, including Eugene Peterson, Lucy Shaw, and Scott Cairns.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room Spiritual Director Ted Wueste has created a book of Advent-themed reflections.
Good Dirt: Advent, Christmastide & Epiphany Good Dirt is a three-book series, walking through the Church year with children. The first volume covers Advent and beyond.
Silence Writer Enuma Okoro crafts a series of pieces on Advent through the lens of invitations given to Zechariah and Elizabeth.
Waiting on the Word: A poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany How have I not heard about this book till today? Malcolm Guite’s poetry, which blends deep theological truths with a deep love of beauty, guides the reader through the Advent season.
Saddleback Church Retreat Ministry Advent App. Each day’s reading has a Bible passage, a short reflection on the passage, and a prayer. Devotions start November 28. Available on the Apple iTunes store and the Android store. This app features content created by author and pastor Jamin Goggin.
The Advent Project III – For the last three years Biola University’s Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts has offered this lovely Advent Calendar. Each day’s offering marries together a Biblical passage, image, and music, which are reflected on by a member of the Biola community.
DoxaSoma: Daily Practice of Advent I was just introduced to this website today, but am intrigued by their blending of movement and devotionals through the practice of yoga.
The Invitation Grafted Life is a spiritual formation ministry that resources the local church to engage in deeper relationships with God and the body of Christ. Executive Director Debbie Swindoll is crafting daily Advent devotionals via email, which you can sign up for through their website.
http://www.anamcara.com/honest/ This web offering is a unique combination of online community and Advent devotional, although I must admit that this brief description does no justice to the beautifully crafted description ( You’re invited into a six-week online journey of Honest Longings).
http://mysoulrefresh.com/no-nonsense-advent/ This is another email-based offering, that invites participants into a deeper experience of the Advent season through devotionals, simple practices, and discussion questions.
Sufjan Stevens Not all of Stevens Christmas songs are specific to Advent, but given the pure amount of songs included, as well as his own frustrations with Christmas, what emerges is an interesting blend of music dealing with Christmas, Advent, and haunting memories from childhood. He has two collections, Silver and Gold and Songs for Christmas, and both are a treat.