Who else here loves the idea of curling up with a fabulous book and a mug of hot chocolate, while the rest of the world goes into festive frenzy? Cheers! *insert happy mug clink* I just realized this weekend will be the first Advent Sunday, which tells me Christmas is not far behind. Does your pulse race just a little faster when you think of everything that needs to be accomplished in the coming weeks? Or do you exhale at the thought of being able to curl up and read Advent?
Here’s the thing. I love everything about Christmas—the baking, shopping, decorating, partying, caroling, eating, giving, receiving— the whole enchilada. But I am keenly aware that Jesus is absolutely central to the occasion, or at least He should be, and I’ve always attempted to put Him first. But quite honestly, it’s tricky with all the other shiny things happening around me. Yeah, I’m easily distracted!
Ever since our kids were tiny, we’ve always enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve shenanigans. We come home from our church Christmas Eve service, unwrap our Christmas pajamas under the tree, and then before we chow down on appies and watch It’s a Wonderful Life or some other festive movie, Lyndon reads the account of Jesus’ birth from the Bible. It’s lovely. Except for that one year when he randomly read the Revelation 12 passage with the pregnant woman and the seven-headed red dragon who waited to devour the baby and everything. Our poor kids. Definitely not the same warm fuzzies you get with the stable and shepherds and angels. But every other year—lovely.
However, as a mom, it always felt like we were hurtling full speed through Advent, pausing only long enough to open a daily cardboard window and devour a small chocolate, and then suddenly BOOM, it’s Christmas Eve. We screech on the brakes, sing Silent Night, and it’s time to read about Jesus’ birth. Oh yes, Jesus. Goodness—how back-to front we have it. That whole Advent time, the waiting in anticipation to celebrate God’s greatest gift—surely it should be a time for us to slow. To calm. To capture the enormity of the love-gift. To reflect on how much God loves us. To enjoy the simple, spectacular truth of Christmas.
I’m still absolutely nowhere near where I should be in the whole Advent experience, but the past few years I feel like I’ve found something that helps me no end. It’s not rocket science and it doesn’t take a lot of effort.
I curl up and read Advent.
I’ve found that amidst the chaotic preparation of all the Christmas things, if I take time to prepare my heart for The Christmas Truth, everything else becomes more manageable. Less manic. I’m focusing on the preciousness of each day during the Advent season, rather than panicking that I have one less day to get everything done.
There are many books out there specifically for Advent , but I have a couple I’d like to share with you. There’s still time to grab a copy of something meaningful, and it might just save your Christmas sanity! I kinda wish I’d done this many years ago, but better late than never!
The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. In her beautiful, poetic style, Ann draws us in to appreciate anew the full love story of Christmas, with daily readings spanning the Old Testament, culminating in the birth of Christ. She gently asks, “It cost Him everything to be with you. Who will spend a fraction of time just to be with Him?”
The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs. I loved delving into the lives of three very special women who played vital roles in the birth of Jesus—Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. There’s also a study guide at the back, which is just fantastic. Liz asks, “What better time to put aside our shopping lists and reach for our Bibles, where the story of the Christ child awaits us?”
If you would like to pick up a copy of either of these gorgeous books, here are my Amazon affiliate links (full disclosure here), which means I get a tiny commission while you pay the regular price:
THE GREATEST GIFT by Ann Voskamp
THE WOMEN OF CHRISTMAS by Liz Curtis Higgs
This year, I’m diving into ADVENT 2016 by She Reads Truth, and I can’t wait! I read last year’s edition and loved everything about it. It’s a big glossy ol’ book with gorgeous pics, recipes, carols, and tons of Scripture and devotions taking you right the way through the season.
As Christmas creeps up, why not curl up and read Advent this year? You won’t regret it.
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2 :10)
Friend, may the good news cause you to slow down, give thanks, and allow your heart to overflow with joy and peace this Advent season!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: