If you’re stuck on how to prepare your own heart or lead your family during Advent, let me make several book recommendations. Two are brand new, and two are relatively recent, but all of them are unique contributions to the season.
First, Russ Ramsey, who is Pastor of Midtown Fellowship (PCA) on 12 South in Nashville, just published a book in collaboration with Andrew Peterson and Rabbit Room Press entitled, Behold the Lamb of God. It has been my joy to get to know Russ this last year and a half in the church-planting network of our presbytery. He’s a humble pastor, in love with Jesus, with an obvious gift for storytelling. If you’re looking for a book that retells the Christmas narrative in a conversational and picturesque way, broken down in daily readings through Advent, this is probably the book for you.
Second, Nancy Guthrie has a brand new book out, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. Also a devotional book, Guthrie’s work is more geared for family worship. There is a short story or lesson on an Advent theme, complete with discussion starters, and a prayer. The devotionals are short and easy enough for grade school children to follow along quite easily. Nancy Guthrie is a prolific writer, and a gifted public speaker. She’s also a long time Nashville native, and a member of our sister congregation, Christ Presbyterian Church.
Third, Dan Doriani, Phil Ryken & Rick Phillips published a Christmas volume entitled The Incarnation in the Gospelsin the very helpful “Reformed Expository Series” published by P&R. It is a selection of sermons preached by the aforementioned pastors from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. This volume is for the reader who enjoys reading sermons, and is eager to dive in deep into the biblical and theological richness of the Christmas story.
Last, but certainly not least, is one my family works through every year. You guessed it—Christmas Spirit by our own Dr. George Grant & Gregory Wilbur. This book has it all: quotes, explanations of traditions, stories, songs, daily readings, prayers, and even recipes. It’s so good that I have a couple of copies—one I keep at the office and one at the house. You never know when you’ll need it! Sadly, this volume is out of print, but amazon.com has a few used copies still available if you hurry.
Read well this Christmas season. Far too much mystery to enjoy to be wasted on shopping at the mall! Find a good book this Advent, and drink in the Christmas story.