Preparing for Advent: Favorite Resources

One of the busiest and most stressful times of the year fast approaches. Christmas shopping, parties, children’s holiday programs, and numerous other end-of-the-year gatherings make the holiday season fraught with running around, anxiety, and feeling pulled in six different directions.

A great way to take time out from all these busy-ness is to spend a few minutes each day with a little book of devotions.  Sometimes a few minutes of peacefulness, quiet, and time to ponder what really matters in life goes a long way.  Advent – the time of preparing for Christmas – can become a time of truly preparing ourselves for new beginnings and new perspective on our lives and our challenges.

Here are some little devotional books for use during the Advent season:

Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas (Franciscan Media, 2008).  This little book is a terrific introduction to Richard Rohr’s theology, as well as a delight to those who are already fans.  At $3 for a paperback copy, this little gem is affordable for teacher gifts or other tokens of appreciation and support.

Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Liguori, 2004).  This compilation of excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s work is a wonderful introduction to his books, as well as a nice collection of short devotionals – each with a scripture passage, prayer, and suggested action item.  About $12 in paperback only.

Advent with Evelyn Underhill (Morehouse, 2006).  The ultimate pre-Christmas gift for mystics.  It can mystically appear on your e-reader for about $10.  Hallelujah!

Advent and Christmas: Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton (Ave Maria Press, 2010).  This is an excellent introduction to Merton for those not already familiar with his work.  There’s material for five weeks, designed for small groups (but can be used by individuals as well).  Plenty of references to other Merton works and other authors as well.  Print only, $5.95.

Ann Nichols, The Faith of St. Nick (Barbour Publishing, 2012).  This book is great for family devotionals or a short bedtime story with children during Advent.  These devotionals are focused on the “real” St. Nicholas and provide inspiration, thoughtfulness, and some early church history on a child’s level. This book appears to be out of print, but the Kindle edition is only $3.99 as of this writing.

Blessings for the pre-Advent season, Cindy