And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger
I can hardly believe that it is time for another Advent reading list, but here we are! Over the years I’ve had the privilege of reading several wonderful Advent devotional books, so I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’m planning on reading this year, as well as some other titles I’ve mentioned here before that you might enjoy.
Up first is my new book for this Christmas, Walter Brueggemann’s Celebrating Abundance. I’m excited about this book because I read Bruegemann’s Lent devotional in the spring and thoroughly enjoyed it! The blurb on the back cover of Celebrating Abundance says each short devotion is about recognizing the true abundance of the Christmas season, which isn’t found in the trappings and traditions of the season. I’ve found that Brueggeman always has interesting ideas, and I can’t wait to dig in to this book starting on Sunday.
In addition to this, I’m planning on starting the Daily Lectionary from the Book of Common Prayer. Advent is the first season of the liturgical calendar, and I’ve grown more interested in the liturgical seasons over the last few years. I thought it would be neat to start that Bible reading plan as the church moves into a season of joyful expectation.
I know you’re wondering, though, whether I’d be reading my favorite Christmas devotional of all time, Behold the Lamb of God, and the answer is a resounding YES! I have this one on audio, and I plan on listening to the chapters each day in December. If you’ve never ventured into the world of Advent reading, I can’t recommend a better starting place. Recently Behold the Lamb of God has been republished with the title The Advent of the Lamb of God, so that’s how to search if you want a copy.
Finally, I thought I’d leave you with a few other excellent selections if none of the ones I’ve listed above strike your fancy! Here are some of my top favorites from over the years:
- God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri Nouwen
- Watch for the Light
- The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle
You can read a little more about these books here and here, and those linked posts have some other titles you might enjoy, too! I hope that one or all of them pique your interest this season. Let me know which one you decide to read!