Advent – the days leading up to Christmas – means “arrival.” It is a time of preparation and reflection, as we wait for God’s great Rescuer, Emmanuel—God with us.
Here are some books and music that can be helpful companions as we prepare our hearts to make room for the child born in Bethlehem.
In This Light by Archbishop Justin Welby
A timely collection of thoughtful meditations from writers, business leaders, athletes, and more. (I was honoured to contribute a reflection: “A letter to a child at Christmas,” page 61.)
Profound essays and poems with contributions from C. S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, and more.
Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller
Profoundly moving and intellectually provocative, it unpacks the message of hope, redemption, and salvation hidden in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth so that readers might experience the redeeming power of God’s grace.
The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle
L’Engle retells events of Jesus’s life and ministry alongside full-page reproductions of Giotto’s frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. Produced as a children’s book but – like all good children’s books – great for all ages.
A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith
Another children’s book because as C.S. Lewis wrote, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
God With Us, edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe
A beautiful collection of Scripture readings, meditations, essays, prayers, and paintings. The reflections continue from Christmas to Epiphany.
A keepsake, beautifully designed collection of literature, Scripture, poems, and songs that celebrate the sacred season of Advent.
Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent by Enuma Okoro
A beautiful Advent devotional through the eyes of Zechariah and Elizabeth.
The Art of Advent by Jane Williams
A painting a day from Advent to Epiphany
A Gallery of Reflections by Richard Harries
Devotionals based on paintings and iconography shown in depictions of the Nativity.
Wounded in Spirit by David Bannon
Christmas can be difficult for many. And in our world there is much suffering and loss. This illustrated Advent devotional is a beautiful meditation for the grieving.
Waiting on the Word by Malcolm Guite
A poem a day from Advent to Epiphany. I love Guite’s poetry, and he has curated a beautiful collection for Advent.
Haphazard by Starlight by Janet Morley
Another collection of poetry, one for each day from Advent to Epiphany, with insightful interpretation and commentary. Poets include Rowan Williams, Emily Dickinson, William Blake and more.
Advent by Fleming Rutledge
A collection of Rutledge’s Advent sermons preached over 40 years. She emphasizes Advent as not just preparation for Christmas, but a season that is of “immense, even ultimate importance.”
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A classic. Need I say more? No. (Except, did you ever see Alastair Sim as Scrooge in the movie version? Another classic. Also the Old Vic put on a beautiful adaptation I saw that was so moving. Dickens’ timeless classic, brought to life in a joyous adaptation by the writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.)
The Story of God’s Love for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Jesus Storybook Bible for grown-ups. It has the perfect number of stories to read for each day of Advent, leading up to Jesus’s birth. (You can follow the reading plan in our Free Advent Kit)
Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson
Handel’s Messiah from the London Philharmonic Orchestra
It’s Almost Christmas by Jon and Valerie Guerra
Christmas by Phil Wickham
Christmas at King’s by The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
A Soulful Holiday by Liz Vice
Come, O Light by Ginny Owens
Chaos: An Advent Poem by Sally Lloyd-Jones