The first Sunday of the advent season comes a little early this year, right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and if you are looking for some inspiration to usher in this time of expectation and hope, I have some great books for you to try. For the last few years I have made a point of doing more than putting a wreath on the table and lighting a candle. Instead, I have chosen one book every year to use as a guide to learning more about this church tradition. Here are my favorites.
God with Us: The publishers of Image Journal released a coffee table style book last year that is probably the most comprehensive and beautiful book for Advent that I have found. It contains artwork, poetry, and devotions from some of the best post-modern evangelical minds
Poems of the Incarnation: If you haven’t read any poetry by Luci Shaw, this is a good place to start. She wrote an entire collection of poems about the season with her usual flair for smart turns of phrase that create unorthodox yet profound images.
Prayers for Advent : Even if you are not familiar with the Book of Common Prayer, this devotional is an excellent, yet condensed, version of the Advent readings from that classic missal as well as some other sources such as St. Augustine.
Watch for the Light: Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others write about the theme of expectation in a group of readings.
Advent and Christmas Wisdom: Henri J.M. Nouwen has influenced me in a way few religious minds have, and I love all of his books for their combination of depth and simplicity