Each year around this time, I get texts from friends and congregants asking “where can I find a good Advent reading plan?” Or “can you point me to something to do with my kids for Advent?” For many, the approach to Christmas begs for a spiritual focus that is more significant than all the parties, shopping, and commercial trappings of the season. Perhaps the longing is even deeper this year (my hand is raised on this). I’ve put together a list of some resources for this year and wanted to share. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to sharpen your focus on the child born a king, Emmanuel, God with us. God really is with us.
“The Weary World Rejoices” is our theme for Advent 2020 at First Methodist Waco. It comes from the hymn O Holy Night, and it seems to perfectly capture the longing so many of us have for Christmas at the end of this particularly difficult year. A clergy colleague, Emily Hines, shared the devotional resources she put together around this theme—a very comprehensive package can be downloaded for free here. There are daily reading guides, an advent candle lighting guide for at-home use, a children’s resource, song list, and more. Personally, I will be using the Fasting & Feasting Guide to structure my devotional life this season.
Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Printables and Christmas Ornaments: this family-friendly pack includes ornaments and coloring pages with the scriptures of the season. I love this because it coordinates with the Bibles that we give to all kids in our church. The download does not include a weekly reading plan—that is in a product that they are marketing for purchase. For a list of daily readings to use with your Jesus Storybook Bible, a printable list is here.
The Society of St. Andrew, a Christian organization committed to ending hunger, has put together a devotional guide with scripture readings and reflections contributed by a variety of different voices. You can download the whole guide or sign up to get them daily in your inbox here.
Not a free, downloadable resource, but worthy of mention—I’ve picked up Honest Advent by Scott Erickson at my favorite local bookshop, Fabled. I’ve followed Scott on instagram, @scottthepainter, for a while and appreciate his artwork and perspective.
Lastly, there are always great reading plans available on the Bible app. But as for me this year, I’m printing some things and taking my paperback and ditching the screen for a while.
I could keep going with sources, but we all need someplace to start and then to get started. It’s time.
Let’s get ready for Christmas.