As much as I love Christmas Day, I’ve come to love the weeks leading up to it even more. Through the years, the discovering, enjoying, and sharing treasured music and books has become an integral part of our celebration. As you prepare for this season of Advent, I’d like to share some of our favorites.
Christmas Songs by Fernando Ortega. His music is as grounding as it is beautiful. Balm for the soul.
Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy by Jason Gray. Jason’s newest CD has quickly become a Christmas favorite around here. Take a minute to read these good words by my friend Jen. What she said.
Christmas by Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn. Christmas is deeply profound (I Will Find a Way) while simultaneously clever and fun-hearted (Baby It’s Cold Out There). A delightful blend of hymns, seasonal favorites, and original music.
Songs of Joy & Peace by Yo-Yo Ma. As if Yo-Yo Ma weren’t enough. He’s joined by friends like James Taylor, Alison Krauss, and Dave Brubeck.
Silver & Gold by Sufjan Stevens. Because you get to sing along to Christmas Unicorn.
Christmastime by David Benoit. The most amazing Carol of the Bells to be found.
Advent Volume 2 by The Brilliance. This band is my favorite musical find of the year. Advent Volume 2 was released this week. Spread the word.
Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration A twist on a classic.
A Slugs & Bugs Christmas Super fun music for the entire family.
For a list of our favorite Christmas books that will be read and re-read through the years, you can visit The Twelve Books of Christmas. Here are a few books we’ll be reading this year:
Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin Jr. Wangerin has quickly become a favorite author. I savored his Lenten devotional and am looking forward to reading Preparing for Jesus on my own this Advent season. Wangerin communicates truth in a way that often catches my head and my heart by surprise.
Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey. A very personal narrative through the story of God’s provision for us all. Last year, I read this on my own. This year, I’m looking forward to reading with the family. Listen to Ramsey reading It Was Not a Silent Night and you’ll know why. Buy several to give a way. It’s a treasure.
Watch for The Light – Readings for Advent and Christmas. Selections from C.S. Lewis, Phillip Yancey, Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. We read the JSBB throughout the year, and it has become my husband’s Bible of choice to read Christmas Eve. I was grateful to find this Advent reading plan that maps out one story everyday during December until Christmas. I can’t imagine a better way to prepare our hearts for Christmas Day.
I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge. This will be a new book for us this year, but anything by Goudge is well worth reading.
Truth in the Tinsel – an ebook including short devotionals and patterns for beautiful handmade ornaments. We decided last year that in order to relieve the pressure of creating an ornament everyday, we’d do what we could and fill in the gaps this year. If your kids are older and don’t require as much help, consider having each of them make a set that they can keep and enjoy with their own families. My friend, Heather, has some beautiful pictures of her children’s creations from Truth in Tinsel.
Jesse Tree – Ornaments and daily devotional by A Holy Experience. This will be our first year receiving the daily devotional and corresponding ornament via email. This set will be equally enjoyed by young or old, single folks or a family.
Wishing you an Advent season full of peace, joy, and great expectation!
For the benefit of others, please share some of your Christmas favorites. (I’m having some technical trouble with the comments section. If you leave one, it may not show up right away, but we’re working on getting that fixed!)