Sharing a family Advent devotional together can be a wonderful experience. In the Christmas rush, just taking the time to refocus your family on what we are really supposed to be celebrating. There are a number of Advent devotionals on the market, each with its own style, many more than I could cover here. But I wanted to highlight a few different kinds.
At the risk of self-promotion, I’d like to begin with my own devotional, As We Wait. This book is designed with the busy family schedule in mind. Devotions are short but have meaningful content. Each day includes a personal application and a family prayer. It is appropriate for a family with middle school age kids or older, perhaps younger if the children are very mature or have especially high vocabulary for their ages. Each day also includes a scripture reference. I don’t write the scriptures out for you because I want you to be able to choose the translation that you prefer, and also because I think it is important to actually open and read from the Bible as a family. The devotional can be done with or without an Advent wreath. The scriptures include those typically read during Advent, but also others from throughout the Old and New Testament. I wanted to give a broader picture of how the birth of Christ fit into the narrative of history.
For parents of smaller children I have two suggestions.
This is the devotional that I grew up using, though it has since been revised somewhat. Each day includes a scripture reading, a short devotional, and the singing of a Christmas carol. It is meant to be used with an Advent wreath, which is somewhat indicated by the title. This is a nice, basic, simple devotional if you have young children, especially if you have never celebrated Advent before.
I am using this devotional for the first time this year, though I have seen it recommended by many bloggers I respect. It isn’t really just a devotional. It has suggested crafts and activities to do with the devotionals for every day of Advent. The best advice I’ve seen is not to try and do everything it suggests the first year you use it (or even any year really). Pick the things you like most or that are the most practical for you. So far my daughter loves it. (Though she thought the printable templates were coloring pages, but at least she was engaged).
This is a more in depth devotional for adults or couples celebrating Advent together. The readings are much longer and the content very deep. This is probably not your best bet for your first attempt at celebrating Advent, but might be a good choice if you are looking for a new challenge to make celebrating Advent different this year. The entries are excerpts from authors like C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so be prepared for some profound insights and personal reflection.
I know that there are hundreds of other devotionals so please, share your favorite. If you want to send me a more in depth review I’ll even try to include it in a later post. I hope you will enjoy celebrating Advent with your family this year.