First of all, I apologise!
Normally I’m pretty strongly of the opinion that talk of Christmas should be avoided until Advent begins, but I’ve decided to break my rule this year in order to let you know about a few books (and one in particular) that you might want to look into now so that you’re ready when Advent comes.
One of my most exciting writing achievements this year was having a piece accepted for publication in an anthology!
The book is entitled “Merry Christmas, Everyone,” and there really is something for everyone! It is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose- a collection of pieces reflecting on different aspects of the Christmas Story and Christmas celebrations by eighty different writers.
I have read quite a few of the pieces already and been blown away by the talent of the writers and the variety of their work. I have laughed and cried, been encouraged and challenged to think. I am honoured to be included among them and I’m looking forward to reading the other contributions in the run-up to Christmas.
(Incidentally, if you think this is early to start thinking about Christmas, the deadline for submissions was in April so, confusingly, I did most of the work on my contribution during the Easter holidays!)
To celebrate, I have a copy of the book which I am going to give away to a reader of this blog. Just leave a comment before 8pm GMT on Sunday 11th November to be entered into the draw.
Since we’re talking about Christmas, I thought I’d mention a few other books and resources you might find helpful during Advent. With all the present-buying and party-going it’s important not to neglect the most important preparation of all!
The Advent of the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey is a beautiful retelling of the story of the Bible, summarising the events of the Old Testament and showing how they connect together and point to Jesus. It is faithful to Scripture while also sparking the imagination and bringing the story to life in new ways with some beautifully poetic writing.
It has 25 short chapters so is perfect for an Advent study. I read the book earlier in the year to review it, but I am looking forward to going through it again at a slower pace during the month of December.
Those Who Wait by Tanya Marlow focuses on the stories of four Bible characters who waited:
- Sarah: waiting for a child and for God’s promise to be fulfilled
- Isaiah: waiting for peace and justice in a time of upheaval and uncertainty
- John the Baptist: waiting to discover his life’s calling and, later, waiting in prison, uncertain whether his wait would end in freedom or in death
- Mary: waiting for Jesus, the Messiah, to be born
Each section includes five short chapters, telling part of the story from the point-of-view of the character. This is followed by some questions for reflection and some creative exercises to help the reader apply the material to their own lives. The format would work well for a study during the four weeks of Advent.
Finally, a resource which you can access completely free!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of the Bible reading plans at She Reads Truth. I have taken part in the Advent studies there over the last couple of years (as well as many of their other studies) and have found them to be really helpful.
This year’s study, Until The Son Of God Appears, begins on 2nd December, and the content will be released one day at a time on the SRT website. Typically it includes a few short Bible passages to read and reflect on, and a commentary by one of the SRT writers. There is also a comments section which is always a blessing, providing the chance to share reflections, ask questions, read others’ insights and share prayer requests with others doing the study.
I hope you find these resources helpful as you begin to prepare for Christmas. Don’t forget to comment below to enter the giveaway!
I’d love to know: What helps you get ready for Christmas?
I’m grateful to Inter-Varsity Press and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of The Advent Of The Lamb Of God. These are honest reviews and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.