Advent Devotional Materials
Today marks the beginning of the season of Advent. During this season of longing and anticipation of the coming (“advent” comes from a Latin word that means simply “coming”) of God in the person of Jesus the Messiah, it is often helpful to focus our devotional life around these themes. To that end, I’d like to recommend several Advent devotional books, all of which are designed to aid our prayer and meditation throughout this holy season. I’ll list these in no particular order.
First, Watch For the Light. This is a compilation of readings around the themes of Advent, continuing into Christmas, from diverse Christian authors, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Aquinas, Annie Dillard, and John Chrysostom.
Second, Advent and Christmas Wisdom from the Writings of Henri J. M. Nouwen. Nouwen is one of the most insightful devotional writers of the past generation. His spiritual depth and pastoral guidance are profound.
Third, Advent with Evelyn Underhill. Underhill, a 20th-century Anglican theologian, writes in the long line of Christian mystics, offering rich reflections on what union with God might look like for a modern person.
Fourth, Love Came Down: Anglican Readings for Advent and Christmas. This volume, compiled and edited by Episcopal priest Christopher Webber, contains meditations from many of Anglicanism’s most well-known poets and theologians such as John Donne, John Newton, and Madeleine L’Engle, and also lesser known, but no less valuable, writers such as Austin Farrer, Thomas Traherne, and Christina Rossetti (likely better known that Farrer or Traherne), from whose poem Love Came Down at Christmas the title is drawn.
Finally, our own Tim Smith, as he has for the past several years, has published an Advent devotional called God’s Indescribable Gift: Daily Reflections on Receiving Grace and Giving Grace. Tim’s thoughtful, engaging reflections on this vital topic will stimulate significant questions as we long for and anticipate the coming of God in our midst.
Now, I’m late getting these resources to you all. Advent with Evelyn Underhill and Love Came Down are available on Kindle, so you can start reading right away. God’s Indescribable Gift is available at church; in the narthex, the parish hall, and the church office. The others can be ordered, and are worth the wait. Waiting, it seems, is what we are called to during Advent.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Image: Annunciation II by Phaedra Jean Taylor, used with permission.