I love Advent! I relish the opportunity to hit the pause button; to remember, reflect and rest in the great story. There are a number of books that have become constant companions for my journey through Advent. I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief description of these terrific resources. They have been such an encouragement to me and I warmly commend them to you.
Behold The Lamb of God. By Russ Ramsey. The story of how God loves his children and has come to rescue them. Several years ago singer songwriter Andrew Peterson released one of the best Christmas albums ever recorded: Behold The Lamb of God. Russ Ramsey then wrote this book as a companion to that record (though it very much stands on its own). It is beautifully written and deeply rooted in Scripture, with an eye toward both wonder and ground-level detail. Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative vividly brings to life the people, the places, and the earthshaking significance of the greatest story ever told—the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.
The First Days of Jesus: The Story of the Incarnation. By Andreas J. Köstenberger, Alexander E. Stewart. This is a new one for me this year. A couple of years ago Kostenberger and Justin Taylor wrote a seminal book about the Final Days of Jesus. This time Kostenberger and Stewart focus on the First days of Jesus. It is a step-by-step journey through the Gospels’ birth narratives. They do a great job of clearing away common misconceptions about the events of the first Christmas. It is historically, culturally & theologically rich and yet very accessible, with plenty of devotional content.
Preparing For Jesus - Meditations On The Coming Of Christ, Advent, Christmas, And The Kingdom. By Walter Wangerin Jr.
Walter Wangerin is a captivating storyteller. I heard him speak at the Greenbelt Festival back in the day, I still remember some of the stories he told. This book (along with his book of Easter meditations are classics). It transformed Advent for me when I first discovered it several years ago. Preparing for Jesus is a devotional journey into the heart of the Christmas season. Through rich detail and vivid images, these moving meditations make Christ's birth both intimate and immediate. Essential Advent reading!
The Jesus Story – This is a blending of all four of the Gospel accounts into one harmonious narrative. It took 23 years to complete, is true to the original Greek and is very easy to read. The story is divided into seven chapters—Jesus's preparation, each of the four years of his ministry, his final week, and his death, resurrection, and ascension. The beauty of this version is that the story flows without the distraction of chapter and verse references, just as though you were reading a novel. To find out more about The Jesus Story - click here