It is so easy in the busyness of the Christmas season to lose sight of the reason we are celebrating. If you are looking for some of the best Advent devotionals then I’ve selected a range of books for you to explore. Advent devotionals are a great resource to focus our thoughts on the true meaning of Christmas. There are daily advent devotionals for personal reflection, advent devotionals for families, and small groups. There is a book for everyone on this list!
What Are Advent Devotionals?
Some Advent devotional books follow the traditional church meaning of ‘Advent’. This is the time of preparation on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas day. Other Advent devotionals provide daily readings and reflections for the whole month of December. While some expand even further and take the reader up to Epiphany (6th January).
Just as Advent devotionals vary in length, they also come in a variety of styles. All the Advent devotional books I have selected here use Scripture in their reflections. Some focus on the people drawn into the Christmas story. Others include famous, or lesser-known, works of art. Then there is a book that takes everyday objects as their inspiration, and one that uses our familiar and much-loved Christmas carols. Read on….
Daily Advent Devotionals
These daily Advent devotionals take many different approaches to the same event – our celebration of Christ’s birth. Some use images of God hidden and visible in Scripture to focus afresh on God’s perfect plan. Others look at the people who became part of the fulfilment of God’s promises and what we can learn from their stories.
Advent in Plain Sight: A Devotion through Ten Objects by Jill J. Duffield
Advent in plain sight leads us from the 1st of December all the way to Epiphany. Each day provides a short Scripture reading with a devotion. Also included are a couple of questions for reflection and a prayer for response. The theme in this Advent devotional book is to experience Immanuel, God with us, all the time. And as we do to develop a fresh awareness of the extent of God’s love for us.
Through ten familiar everyday objects we are encouraged to see God’s presence, and to connect with Him, in our daily routine. One of the objects the author focuses on is our tears, because life’s problems do not stop or go away in December. But Jesus came to bring light to those in deep darkness, and that is our hope, and our joy, as we wait for God’s redemption. Available from Amazon UK & US
The Dawn of Redeeming Grace: Daily Devotions for Advent (Devotional for Christmas that will stir hope and inspire worship) by Sinclair B Ferguson
I found the title of this book inspiring for an Advent devotional. It immediately focuses our thoughts on the greatest gift we will ever receive. The author bases these Advent daily devotionals on the first two chapters of Matthew’s gospel. They include quotes from other spiritual writers and reference to familiar Christmas carols.
The Dawn of Redeeming Grace, provides a deeper, and longer, reflection for those who are able to set aside the time. Each passage closes with a prayer summarising that day’s message. Available from Amazon UK & US
The Little Book of Advent: Daily Wisdom From the World’s Greatest Spiritual Teachers by Arthur Howells
This Advent daily devotional is exactly what is says – a simple, but profound, little book. The author has sourced, and carefully chosen insights from a range of different spiritual writers. Some of the names I was familiar with, while others were completely new to me.
Each day provided a Scripture passage, a thought-provoking reflection, and a prayer. A great resource for those looking to find deeper spiritual meaning through a short reflection in the busy Advent season. Available from Amazon UK & US
O Come Emmanuel: A Musical Tour of Daily Readings for Advent and Christmas by Gordon Giles
O Come Emmanuel, takes us through Advent all the way to Epiphany. Each daily reading provides a passage of Scripture, a Carol, a short reflection, and closes with a prayer.
There are familiar, and less well known, carols in this book. I enjoyed discovering some new songs with beautiful and poetic words. Each reflection refers to the songwriter and provides some background into their life and experience. But ultimately the author directs our thoughts to Jesus with timeless truths of love, forgiveness, and the joy of our salvation. Available from Amazon UK & US
Redeeming Advent: by Lucy Rycroft (Pursuing Christ through the haze of tinsel, giftwrap and Lebkuchen)
This Advent devotional is for all the busy people and in particular for parents trying to find the time and space for reflection. There are twenty-four daily readings with a relevant link to a passage of Scripture. They are light-hearted, often humorous, but with a clear message and they all close with a prayer.
The readings draw inspiration from the traditions of our Christmas celebrations today. Then, increasingly, as the month progresses, they connect with the biblical nativity story more and more. The reality is that the first Christmas, in its own way, may well have been as chaotic as our own. Available from Amazon UK & US
To Bethlehem & Beyond: The Plan, The People, The Promise by Sharon Hazel
Each day in December journey through Scripture and see God’s salvation plan unfold. Travel with some of the people drawn into the story, beginning in Eden and culminating in Bethlehem. Each day provides a Scripture reading, a short reflection, some questions, and closes with a prayer.
Focusing on God’s plan and the fulfilment of His promises brings a fresh appreciation of His love for us. The way different people are included in God’s plan reminds us that the wonder of Christmas is connection. We have a personal invitation to come to know, and celebrate, the mystery of Immanuel, God with us! Available from Amazon UK & US
Advent Devotional Books – The Best of the Rest!
The choices here are those Advent devotionals that are a little bit different in their approach. But they all direct our thoughts to the wonder of the birth of Jesus. Some use art and visual illustrations to guide or enhance their reflections. While another explores the theme of Advent as an attitude for life. And one takes a fairly unique approach and journeys backwards in time…
Celebrating Christmas: Embracing joy through art and reflections by Amy Boucher Pye and Leo Boucher
Celebrating Christmas is divided into four parts, each with its own theme. These four sections provide the reader with twenty-five short devotions all accompanied by a unique piece of art. Each days reading closes, and is sealed, with a short prayer.
The reflections are personal as the author draws us into the sights and sounds of her world through the Christmas season. But each one connects in some way with the message of the nativity, focusing on the reason we celebrate, and the wonder of God’s salvation plan. Available from Amazon UK & US
The Advent Narrative: The Life You Didn’t Know You Were Already Living by Mary Geisen
A beautifully written book exploring the theme that Advent living is not just for the period of marking off the days until the celebration of Christmas. When we acknowledge and receive Jesus’ first arrival, it is possible to take the ideas of preparation and expectancy into our everyday.
This shift in our perspective enables us to wait attentively for His second coming. Even through our wilderness experiences, there is opportunity to lean into God and to wait well with the hope that we now have in Jesus. Available from Amazon UK & US
Biblical Explorations – Journey to the Manger, Exploring the Birth of Jesus by Paula Gooder
Journey to the Manger is for those who have the time and desire to dig deep into God’s word and are looking for a fresh perspective to a familiar story. This study book aims to restore our awe at God’s plan that was both hidden and revealed through Scripture.
The book is split into four sections, Origins, Announcements, Arrivals, and Aftermaths. Each section holds two chapters with exposition of relevant Biblical text, a reflection and closes with a short meditation. There are also study questions in the back of the book making this suitable for individuals or small groups. Available from Amazon UK & US
Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations by David Bannon and Philip Yancey
Wounded in Spirit provides twenty-five reflections to read and meditate on as we approach Advent. Each day looks at a different major artist and illustrates one or two of their paintings. There is also a verse of Scripture to pull the illustrations and the reflection together.
For anyone struggling with grief there is a poignant message from the life stories of the artists themselves. Their experiences of working through, and overcoming, grief and loss are inspirational. The message here is one of hope that God is with us in our brokenness, as we celebrate the arrival of Jesus the Light of the world. Available from Amazon UK & US
Walking Backwards to Christmas: An Advent journey from light to darkness by Stephen Cottrell
Walking backwards to Christmas provides eleven short chapters in the voices of different Bible characters. The author has created a narrative starting with Anna and, in reverse chronological order, works backwards to Moses.
The people chosen to tell their story reveal the mystery of the gospel. The author has put flesh on their bones, and has imagined more, or embellished, what the passages of Scripture reveal. This reads like a novel but reveals the simplicity, and complexity, of God’s rescue plan and all the wonder of Christmas. Available from Amazon UK & US
Advent Devotionals For Families
I have included here a few Advent devotionals for those with young families. They could also provide resources for those who work with children, grandparents, or carers. There are short reflections with relevant themes for Advent family devotions, lessons, or craft sessions. They are all child orientated and centre on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Jesse Tree Anthology Compiled by Rachel Yarworth
Along with twenty-four other Christian writers it has been a privilege to be part of this project, The Jesse Tree Anthology, compiled by Rachel Yarworth.
“Take a journey this Advent through the family tree of Jesus and his ancestor, Jesse. Beginning with the creation of the world and continuing right up to the night of Jesus’ birth. Read about 25 of the most important people and events that came before Jesus and discover how all of their stories point to Him.”
This book is suitable for reading alone, or as a family devotional. Each reading comes with questions to reflect on and discuss. There are also templates for Jesse Tree Ornaments to color, cut out, and hang on your own Advent Jesse Tree. Available from Amazon UK & US
Related Post: What Is An Advent Jesse Tree?
Walking to Bethlehem: An Advent Journey – 25 imaginative devotions for adults and children by Fay Rowland
This is an A4 sized workbook packed full of resources for celebrating Advent with primary age children (4-11). It would be a great tool for anyone involved in children’s ministry, or homeschooling.
Each day is laid out in the same pattern. There is a Scripture verse from the gospel accounts leading up to Jesus’ birth. Then a short reflection with a question to reflect or discuss, and a prayer for personal response. There are large, highly patterned, templates in the shape of a cross, candle, or star to make decorations. Also included are instructions for creating your own stable scene, advent labyrinth, or Posada road. Available from Amazon UK & US
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus focuses on a different theme for each of the four weeks of Advent. Each week offers five daily reflections on a name of Jesus. The readings come with thought-provoking questions and challenges, plus additional Scripture references for more research.
There are activity suggestions to complete the theme at the end of each week and an additional special reading for each of the Sundays. Focusing on the character of Jesus is a fresh way to prepare for the celebration of His birth. Available from Amazon UK & US
Advent Together: The Advent Family Devotional Paperback by Steve & Bekah Legg
Advent Together comprises of twenty-four daily readings ideally for primary age children (4-11). It is a family devotional to work through together. Each day is broken into a number of sections to read, discuss, pray, and create! They include a Scripture reading, a something to think about section, and a point to Jesus paragraph that brings our focus firmly back to Him. There is also a short reflection with application and connection to our Christmas traditions today.
The book loosely works around the concept of the Jesse Tree and the ancestors of Jesus. There are twenty-four simple templates to trace, cut, and color, to create ornaments for an Advent Jesse Tree, or to add to your own Christmas Tree. Available from Amazon UK or US