Sunday, November 23, 2014

Celebrating Advent, Books for Advent

 Some Advent/Christmas resources for children

Mary's First Christmas
Song of the Stars (All Creation Has Been Waiting)
A Christmas Story
Good News of Great Joy
Papa Panov's Special Day (Tolstoy's 'Where Love Is, God Is')
Room for a Little One (especially for very little children)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (read it to middle schoolers)

The first Sunday of Advent is a week from today, on November 30. For the next four Sundays and then Christmas Eve, we will ponder the prophecy of a promised Redeemer and fulfillment of that prophecy in God coming to rescue His people.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Why celebrate Advent? Taking the time to sit down with the family and read the Scriptures in the weeks preceding Christmas keeps us focused on what exactly it is that we are celebrating. As Christians, we could complain that consumerism has hijacked Christmas and have nothing whatsoever to do with it, but why would we not want to contemplate the Creator and Savior of the world who loved us enough to become one of us, to save us?  Why would we not want to be reminded, once again, of the message of the prophets and the fulfillment found in Jesus? He is our Light, our Hope, our only Savior.

 My new favorite this year:

 Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
A Book for Families by Ann Voskamp
The Jesse Tree, December 1 - 25 readings about the lineage of Jesus.
Not only a wonderful book for Advent, but beautiful artwork and printed on quality paper.
(If you're like me, you notice that kind of stuff.)

From the Preface:

'If we want our Christmas tree to really stand wondrous and full of meaning, the tree we really need to understand and be astonished by is the family tree of Jesus Christ. Because this is our story - your story.

God doesn't cut off all the big cheaters, bad liars, weaselly sneakers, battling brothers, fighting families, and brokenhearted from His family tree - He makes families just like these perfectly His! He adopts all the messy and broken and imperfect people into His tree and His story and His heart, and He gives us His family name. He gives us His absolutely perfectness and makes us alive and fully free.'

A few more resources for Advent
which I've used over the years

Come Thou, Long Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie and R. Kent Hughes
God Rest Ye Merry by Douglas Wilson
Family Celebrations for Christmas by Ann Hibbard
Christ in Christmas - A Family Advent Celebration by various authors

Along with those pictured above, I also have, on my Kindle,  G.K. Chesterton's Advent and Christmas Wisdom and Dietrich Bonhoffer's God is in the Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas.

"There is a place in one of Martin Luther's Nativity sermons where he asks something like, 'Do you know what a stable smells like?  Do you know what that family would have smelled like after the birth when they went out into the city? And if they were standing next to you, how would you have felt about them and regarded them?' He is saying, 'I want you to see Christ in the neighbor you tend to despise, in the political party you despise, in the race you despise, in the class of people you despise.

'Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you..." - T. Keller, from Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Check out a prior blog post about making an Advent wreath 
and celebrating Advent.

Why did I post this a week early? Just as a reminder to gather your resources, and so that I could share some of my favorites, with which you may not be familiar. I encourage you to celebrate Advent. It will transform your Christmas season and perhaps even transform your life.

I am thankful for excellent Christian writers who help me better celebrate Advent.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Although I usually forget to do it, there is a chance that this post will be linked to one or more of these great linky parties:  Amaze Me Monday and Inspiration Monday and Mosaic Monday and The Barn Collective and    Treasure Box Tuesday and Vintage Bliss Tuesday and KatheWithAnE and Rubbish Tuesday and Our World Tuesday and Tuesdays at our Home and Tuesday with a Twist and  Knick of Time Tuesday (vintage)  and   Tweak it Tuesday and Vintage Inspiration Wednesday and Ivy and Elephants Wednesday and Adorned From Above  and Artsy Corner Thursday and  All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and Good Fences on Thursdays and  Time Travel Thursday and Freedom Fridays and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Saturday's Critters


Pamela Gordon said...

Thank you for posting this Judy. I'm going to be looking for Ann Voskamp's new book for sure and perhaps finding one for my grandsons that I can mail to them. They night have to play catch up but they are 4 and 2 so it won't matter. Have a blessed Sunday.

Sue McPeak said...

Thank you so much for these advent book lists. How insightful and thoughtful to think of the Christmas Tree as ones Family Tree. I love that! Many blessings to you and your family during this time of the year. I am enjoying your blog so much...even though I don't comment often...know I am reading and your words and pictures fill my heart.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Arlene G said...

Judy I have gathered some of my favorites and placed them in a nice fabric box in our living room. I am also doing Advent with Father Robert Barron. Though I am not Catholic, I have enjoyed his previous advent reflections and I receive them every day in my email so I read them first thing in the morning. That Ann Voskamp book sounds great...will have to look for it.

Theresa said...

Beautiful post! I love what Martin Luther's sermon says, makes you think about the people around you:) Enjoy your day dear friend, HUGS! said...

thank you Judy, this book looks simply stunning~ I do want to teach my grandsons what Christmas really is about, and they are still just a little too young for anything except the simpler concepts...a book like this would be a great new tradition~

Debbie said...

thanks for sharing some information I did not know. advent meant something a little different for me. books are great for kids, it looks like a really nice collection!!

MadSnapper said...

great post. i like the candles in what i think is a cake pan. and i have often thought about that cave stable that He was born in. the smells and how it felt and even the fear they probably felt even knowing about the baby. and the fear of trying to raise him and keep him safe.. i never thought about Christmas in the neighobrs i don't like the politicians i don't like etc. i will have to try on that one.

TexWisGirl said...

love the advent wreath in the bundt cake pan! so creative!

Elizabeth Edwards said...

i bet the fresh greens smell delicious! ( :

Primitive Stars said...

Morning, love the post once again. Always enjoy a good read. Blessings Francine.

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

A beautiful,thoughtful post. Thank YOU!

I have some of the same books -- they are so much fun to bring out this time of year.

I, too, was moved by the quote you share of Martin Luther's.

Wishing you a beautiful day....

Nancy said...

I purchased Advent candles this summer because last year I could not find them in the stores when I needed them.

I love the angel food cake pan you used for your wreath - very clever!

lulu said...

YES, Judy--"Gather our resources"--for they are all gifts from Him. Some of your rec's I have, but others are new to me. Thank you for sharing--I look forward to exploring them.

Ginny Hartzler said...

How wonderful! And expectation of the Coming is such an important part of Christmas! I love that you have not only listed, but actually shown us these books. I know our Anne Marie will enjoy us reading one. I will be checking them out. I am also excited about looking at the Chesterton one...he has such brilliant quotes as well. Your decorations are unusual and lovely.

This N That said...

We used to have advent calendars as kids..I gave them to my grandchildren when they were little. Nice tradition..Enjoy your Sunday

This N That said...

We used to have advent calendars as kids..I gave them to my grandchildren when they were little. Nice tradition..Enjoy your Sunday

podso said...

Thanks for the resources Judy--some are new to me. It's hard to believe the first Sunday of Advent is almost here. So much to ponder, wonder and rejoice about.

Deborah Montgomery said...

Thank you for listing these resources. I have got my three purple and one pink candle for a wreath, but will check out some of those resources you mentioned. Thanks for posting this early! It has snuck up on me!

Michelle said...

Judy, thank you for these wonderful book suggestions. Hard to believe the time for Advent is upon us.

Terri D said...

An excellent reminder of this wonderful, holy season.

Lynne said...

I appreciated your "early post" and loved your Advent Wreath in the cake tin . . .

Carla from The River said...

Thank you for posting Judy. It is such a special time. I have a new book I am going to read out loud to all of us this December. Can not wait.
xx oo

Lady of the Manor said...

Wonderful post and great resources for Advent!

cedarmerefarm said...

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift does sound wonderful (and pretty, I love beautifully illustrates books). It would be a great book to have. Thank you

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Lovely post - I don't have grandchildren yet, but I will write down some of these titles for that magical time. Yes, we sometimes get caught up in the season for all the wrong reasons...a lovely reminder.
Oh, and I loooove the bundt pan with the candles and greenery! Have a blessed week. xo Karen

Unknown said...

Great post, I love the wreath with the candles

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Commercialism can spoil so much and it's easy for us to forget why we do some things in the first place. Your post says some wonderful things - and the photographs are great.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I really love that wreath!! Have a Happy Monday :)

Eileen said...

Thank you! I love reading Christmas books. Have to get Ann Voskamp's new book. Thank you for keeping the "real" meaning of Christmas alive. We have an Old Fashioned Christmas program in a little country church. Dec 13 & 14 this year. There is a horse stable and hall across the road where we serve hot cider etc. It is a very informal program celebrating Jesus. I guess people feel that - they want us to continue every year. I use 'pieces' from the early 1900's. Blessing!

Michelle said...

Martin Luther is right...
how would we have treated Jesus and His family.
Something to remember the next time I don't want to be around someone.


Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Your advent wreath is pretty Judy and I like the book recommendations.
I think a lot about how commercialized Christmas is and that there are many kids that have no idea of the true meaning of Christmas.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Moncay.

eileeninmd said...

Thank you for the early post and the list of books.. Your wreath is beautiful..

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

We always did this as a child and raising mine...advent wreath on sundays and the calender :)

Donna said...

Lovely book choices

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

I will be going to The book store today and picking up a book for my grands and myself based on your recommendations. This is a lovely, inspirational and comforting post. My husband and I have 8 children between the two of us and harmony is challenging- I am always on the look out for uplifting ways to enhance this. Your advent centerpiece and wreath are gloriously natural and beautiful.


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