The word Advent literally means "the arrival of a notable person, thing or event." In the Christian church, Advent is the four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas, where we celebrate the arrival of the most notable, attractive, and life-changing person in all of history: Jesus Christ.
In our western context, the Advent season is also one of the busiest and most pressure-packed seasons of the year as our schedules are filled with parties, decorating, shopping, and hosting friends and familyHow often we arrive at Christmas ready for our own preparations, but having missed the chance to consider and reflect on the arrival of Jesus to our world and our lives.
Here are some resources to help you as you seek to consider the beauty, mystery and hope found in the truth that: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14.)
Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey
This daily advent reading tracks the story of redemptive history through the Old Testament and the longing for Jesus' coming as foretold through the patriarchs, the people of Israel and the prophets. It is loosely connected to the musical album of the same name by Andrew Peterson (listed below) that tells the "true tall tale" of Christmas.
Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom, by Walter Wangerin
In this daily devotional, master story-teller and pastor, Walter Wangerin, paints a vivid and compelling walk through the events surrounding the birth of Jesus that is both historical, pastoral, and personal.
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
This daily devotional offers brief meditations from a variety of authors (of all ecumenical backgrounds) from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Thomas Merton to Brennan Manning. While some readings may resonate more than others, they offer a diverse picture of Advent taken from various streams of the Christian church.
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Anne Voskamp
Anne Voskamp traces the great love story of Christmas reaching back into the pages of the Old Testament and showing God's redemptive story from Adam to the Messiah.
Behold the Lamb of God (Musical Album) by Andrew Peterson
This beautiful album tells the "true tall tale" of the coming of Jesus, tracking through the Old Testament narratives to demonstrate the need for a Messiah.