We all have favorite traditions during the holidays. Mine would have to be Advent.
To me, however, Advent is the very heart of Christmas. Advent, a season of remembering Christ in anticipation of celebrating the day of His birth.
So how do you mark the days?
Some of my most precious Christmas memories are evenings gathered around an Advent wreath, singing carols and reading scriptures that wrote themselves into my heart. Praying over friends and family as we received greeting cards from far away.
Today I am going to share with you five books that are currently on my bookshelf. Books that have in one way or another helped me to plan and celebrate the Advent season. Call them resources that you can look at as you form your own family Advent tradition.
Book Titles Are Text Links To The Corresponding Amazon Product Page.
This is the book that started it all for me. I grew up listening to its pages read every year in my fathers comforting voice.
It, unlike many others, doesn’t mark so much the 25 Days of Christmas as the Four Sundays and Weeks of Advent. Because of this the readings are not marked by date but by day of the week, and you often won’t read every day for the final week, but skip to Christmas Eve’s reading when it is reached.
Sundays readings are always a little longer, with a scripture reading, devotional, discussion questions, family activities, and a closing song. The readings for weekdays are generally only a scripture passage for that day.
Hearing these same scriptures and devotions yearly are incredibly precious memories to me.
Here is a book that may seem like a simple Christmas Coffee Table Book. In reality that is what it is. But it is so full of beautiful ideas! And as a new wife the simple scripture recommendations for advent is what my husband and I started with.
I also highly recommend the sausage ring recipe on page 41. I’ve yet to make it come out perfectly shaped, but it is so delicious I don’t care!
Everything Christmas is fun both for personal reading and family time.
It’s arranged by reading through the 25 days of Christmas, but you’ll want to look ahead. Each day includes short stories, Christmas facts, scriptures, songs, ideas, recipes, and more.
I find the Christmas facts from around the world particularly fascinating!
This book is fun to have in your collection. It can add hours of family time and laughter as you read the stories together.
If you have young children this book may be a great idea to use.
It is arranged by the 25 days of Christmas and is very much oriented towards little children and teaching them about Christmas and Jesus, building their anticipation for the big day, but with a focus on its true reason.
It has child friendly crafts, activities, and readings, with a weekly reading for parents. Throughout the book you explore the names of Christ, which I thought was a beautiful touch.
The newest addition to my advent collection is quickly becoming my favorite.
Ann Voskamp’s latest release is breathtakingly beautiful. It follows the idea of the Jesse tree, which is a newer tradition for me. The book threads its way through the stories of the Bible, painting the picture of the family tree and story of Christ.
With the inclusion of ornaments you can receive either as a free printable through her website, or purchase through Dayspring, this one promises to be a beautiful tradition my family will cherish.
Every page in this book is just beautiful, and Ann’s words enrapture even from the introduction. Just listen to these lines from the introductory page:
“Your story starts with a kiss. That’s how God made people: He gathered up some dust and dirt. He shaped and sculpted the dirt into what looked like a person- eyes sort of like your eyes and a nose kind of like yours and a mouth a lot like yours- and then the one real God, the Father-King of the whole universe, knelt close and closer and closer until His very breath breathed on our skin, and His life and love filled us until we were warm and fully alive!
Your story begins with a kiss, because your Father-King knows that the greatest gift your heart really wants and needs is love- to feel the safe, forever warmth of His love.”
Yeah, I know. Wrenched my heart too.
Did you see anything that strikes your interest? Honestly you don’t have to have a book to start an advent tradition. Or a calendar, or an advent wreath. The point is to take a moment to slow down this season, and remember Him whom we are celebrating. Advent is a gift of remembrance to us. It’s a gift to my daughter as I share with her the scriptures and the joy of Christmas. Teaching her about, and helping her to know, Christ.
I wrote a series of posts for the Sundays of Advent last year. If you would like to see them check them out below. You may be inspired!
However you choose to celebrate, it is my prayer that this advent season blesses you and your family!
Joy Aletheia Stevens
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you would prefer you may use an affiliate banner ad to purchase some of these products through Family Christian Store or Dayspring. Using affiliate links on my site helps support the site, and my family. The books reviewed in this post were from my own collection and not supplied to me for review. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift was given to me by my Mom as an early Christmas gift for my family. (Thanks Mom!) All opinions are my own. For more about affiliate links and privacy policies see my disclaimer page.