Advent is one of my favorite times of year.

Not just because it means Christmas is coming, but because it’s a time of waiting. A time of planning and preparing and praying. A time to quiet my heart in the midst of so much noise. One of the ways I try to slow down and savor the season is through Advent readings. The books below are a few of my seasonal favorites and range from journals to children’s stories. I hope these books help you find the peace and grace you’re seeking this season.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, book 2 in C.S. Lewis’ famous Chronicles of Narnia Series, is a lovely way to share advent with the children in your life. Or, if you’re so incline, to read it on your own. The story of the four Pevensie children and their quest to defeat the White Witch is exciting and thrilling. But it takes a powerful turn when Aslan the Lion appears to teach the children that sometimes love requires the greatest sacrifice. Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read alone.

This journal helps the reader focus on meditative prayer also known as Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina requires the reading and contemplation of scripture. As you read, you pray, as you pray, you journal about the ideas that come to you. This is a personal and private process that helps you determine what God wants to share with you. Each day’s passage takes about 10-15 minutes per day and is a wonderful way to enter more fully into this season of waiting.

This is a daily devotional that can be read every day during the Advent season. Passages reflect on the blessings that God offers throughout the season as well as sharing the history behind the story of Christmas. This is a great book for the family to share and discuss. While it’s not a children’s book, the stories are told simply enough for children to understand and appreciate.

This is another great book for the family looking for a new way to study and discuss the Christmas story. Taken from the Gospels, this book introduces minor characters in the Christmas story that help you view this time of year in a different light. This book ends each section with discussion questions and a suggested Christmas song if you want to make reading this book a more interactive family event.

This is another great book for families. Broken into four parts (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love), this book offers interactive daily reflections that help you celebrate Advent together. There are suggestions for fun, family activities and even service projects for older kids. This book can be read by individuals as a tool for personal worship as well. But no matter how you use it, this book helps prepare your heart for the wonder of Christmas morning.

This is a unique retelling of the Christmas story. It takes the story from the Gospels in the New King James Bible but it has been arranged so that it’s told in one, complete narrative. This makes it easier to read, both in silent worship as well as read aloud for the family. It has lovely illustrations and and index to help the reader with private, contemplative study.

This book offers readings that can help you prepare for Advent, then daily and weekly studies that include scripture readings, journal prompts, and guided prayers to help you get the most out of this beautiful season. The readings are short and can be done in 10-15 minutes daily. It’s a perfect way to start your dark, December mornings.

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