One of the favorite memories as a kid was the Advent Countdown that my mom made my sister and I. Each day of Advent, we’d get a piece of candy and countdown the days until Christmas. It was a way of helping us understand the anticipation and excitement of Christ’s appearing at the first Christmas and when Christ will come again.
Advent is a 4 week season of anticipating the appearance of Jesus. It is a time for followers of Jesus to create a new rhythm in their lives of waiting, watching, and anticipation. Today, Advent is a direct rebellion to the consumeristic Christmas that is pervasive in our culture- where Wal-Mart has their Christmas displays up in October. Advent says, “Slow down, wait and watch for Jesus rather than rushing to the manger.”
I thought that this year I would share some resources that I will be using this year to celebrate the season of Advent.
1. Not Yet Christmas-It’s Time for Advent This is a 25 day devotional written by JD Walt of Seedbed. Each day includes a scripture reading, short narration by JD, and a poem/reading that goes along with the theme. I’m really excited about what Seedbed is doing in the world of publishing and resources in the Wesleyan Theological spectrum.
2. Wait: For Weeks of Preparing the Soul for Christmas This is another devotional from Daniel Ethan Harris. Daniel and I graduated from Asbury College the same year and I’ve read some of his previous work- and I am looking forward to this book as well in preparation for Christmas.
There have been several releases over the last few years with the aim of providing music for the season of Advent. (Some songs, like JOY TO THE WORLD, might better be seen as an Advent song b/c of the focus on when Jesus will return) The following will be on heavy rotation (after Thanksgiving) on my iPod.
1. Future of Forestry (Advent/Christmas Vol. I, II, & III) Future of Forestry has a sound that is not your typical Christmas sounding music- which may be why I like it so much. The track “The Earth Stood Still” is a particular favorite of mine.
2. Page CXVI (Advent to Christmas) This band does some great work in “re-visioning” the great hymns of the faith. This means that the lyrical content remains the same and the music/melody/harmony are revision. If you’re a fan of the traditional melodies, this might not be the recording for you. But if you’re looking for a fresh approach on songs you know by heart- this album will allow you to hear these classics with new ears!
3. Robbie Seay Band (December Vol. I & II): I have been a fan of The Robbie Seay Band for many year now. I did a CD review on the blog a few years back for their album Miracle. I have December Vol. 2 which has a great acoustic version of “Song of Hope.” This is definitely worth picking up.
So there are a few resources to help you during the season of Advent. What books, CD’s, songs, or practices help you get ready for Christmas? Share in the comments below.