I don’t know about you, but I can say with all sincerity that our blog’s daily search into thanksgiving was a blessed occasion for me. It dripped daily with Truth, encouragement, confession, and hope for the future. This coming month we will move our vision from thanking in general to thanking Him specifically for a Heavenly-baby born in an unassuming Earthly manger. While we will not be writing every day, we pray you are refreshed every day this Advent season as we focus our distracted eyes onto Him who is holy. Here are some great resources for you, or the whole family, that will help you do just that…
Podcasts: Focus on the Family podcast “Teaching Your Kids About Christmas” – you will learn how to unpack our Christmas traditions and teach them to your children. Don’t think this is only about teaching children, because you are guaranteed to learn something new as well! One of Janna Saavedra’s favorite online devotionals is “Verse by Verse”. Search “Luke” and you will find Steve Armstrong’s verse by verse sermons on the Book of Luke and the Christmas story. You can’t help but learn something new on a story you’ve heard hundreds of times.
Books: “The Story of St. Nicholas”, available at the Voice of the Martyrs website as is “The Story of St. Patrick” and “The Story of St. Valentine”, is a fabulous picture book based on the history of St. Nicholas. If you’re not crazy about bringing Santa Claus into the children’s lives, don’t miss out on teaching about this historical role model of generosity and sacrifice. Emily Freeman, author of “A Christ-Centered Christmas“, writes in her introduction, “Within the pages of this book you will discover the lessons and traditions associated with each of the figures in the nativity. The simple traditions that accompany these figures will give you an opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season just for a moment as you spend time reflecting on the Savior and the miracle of His birth.” The book “The Women of Christmas” focuses on Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Author Liz Curtis Higgs writes, “[Christmas is] a season for reflection, for preparation, for renewal. The perfect time to put aside our shopping lists and reach for our Bibles, where the story of the Christ child awaits us.”
Apps: In case you can’t tell I’m a big fan of everything Focus on the Family here’s an app your kids/grand kids/kids-etc will love! Download the weekly Advent calendar onto your smart device for $1.99-2.99 a week and your children will have a daily devotional, a 3D Odyssey house to build out of paper, and audio clips.
Websites: When Jesus first entered this world as a baby the World missed it; only a handful of Faithfuls witnessed His birth and was there to worship. In 2014 we have the privilege of counting down his birth and we can still miss it due to an over-busy calendar or hours spent at the mall. Advent Conspiracy is a book and website that encourages you to turn Christmas upside down. The website has short videos, short readings, or donation opportunities for every day of the season. At A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts” gives crafting ideas to teach the World around us about Christ’s love. Don’t forget to check out her new book, an Advent book, “The Greatest Gift”.
Blogs That You Might Enjoy Throughout the Season: She Reads Truth provides short daily readings. Last year they focused on the Advent, so we can only hope they do it again. The author of “Free Fall to Fly” Rebekah Lyons is, by Joy Steed’s admission, “…so inspirational… anyone that reads her will be encouraged and uplifted.” Our own fearless leader, Suzie Lind, writes often throughout the season. You can also search the site for “advent” and read what she wrote on last year around this time.