Christmastime is upon us, and, with it, the rush and flurry of the holiday to-do lists and obligations. Yet even in the hurry of this season, we can hush our spirits and meditate on the gift of Jesus. Several staff members of The Wilting Rose Project gathered their favorite Advent recommendations together to share with you. We hope these suggestions invite you to ponder the wonder of Christ’s coming!
Listen to Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson — Ryan Elizabeth
Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ is so much more than just an album of Christmas folk music—it’s a story and a tradition that started as a live event that’s lasted over twenty years.
My family has been listening to these songs every year that I’ve been alive, so it’s always been a part of my Advent! In 2019, Andrew Peterson released a brand new recording of his Behold the Lamb project (originally released independently in 2004), which seemed to reach a new audience hungry for the rich, theology-filled music that Peterson makes. You’ll find that these songs don’t merely scratch the surface of the meaning of Christmas; they dig deep into the ways that both the New and Old Testament point to awaiting Christ’s birth.
I think that in order to get the whole experience of this beautiful, true, earthshaking story that Andrew Peterson put into music, you should listen to the whole song-cycle in order (if not attend a concert or the livestream!). But if I had to choose a few songs, three that I’d especially recommend from the album are “Gather ’Round Ye Children Come”; “So Long, Moses”; and “Labor of Love.”
Cozy up and meditate on Jesus’s arrival with the Good News of Great Joy podcast or devotional by John Piper — Bethany Rose
Years ago, my family spent Christmas at a friend’s cabin, our refuge from the toxic mold infiltrating our home. In the midst of that challenging Advent, I remember cozying up in their big overstuffed leather chairs and listening to these gentle meditations on Jesus’s arrival, each illuminating God’s heart for mankind in sending His Son and each shining a candle on a different aspect of the story.
There are twenty-five devotionals in all, one for each evening of Advent, but they aren’t necessarily all consecutive. You can either listen to the podcast version or read them as devotionals. If you enjoy podcasts, I find the soft music in the background helps focus my attention.
If you start mid-December, you can feel free to skip a few, but since they’re short, you may want to start at the beginning.
You can find the devotional and the podcast here, or listen wherever you stream podcasts.
Peaceful Advent reading suggestions — Cat Thomspon
The month of December is notorious for being hectic and stressful, and the Christmas season seems to start earlier every year.
But there’s something calming about sitting down every day and reading a devotional — having a physical reminder to slow down and reflect can be incredibly grounding during all the chaos of shopping and planning.
Hannah Brencher has created a really thoughtful Advent devotional that is completely free. It is housed on her blog, but has also been released as an e-book and is sent via her email list during Advent. Her writing is really clear, powerful, and inspiring; she is one of my very favorite authors (see my review of another Hannah Brencher book here).
My family has also read Shadow and Light by Tsh Oxenrieder, a really great devotional to do along with others or on your own. The unique thing about this book is that a selection from the Psalms is included with the readings, so this devotional selection is perfect if you’re looking for a different take on Christmas reading or a way to study the Old Testament’s relation to the Gospels.
We hope you seek out a few of these suggestions, Roses. Most of all, we hope you can find time this Advent to still your heart before the Lord, read His word, and celebrate what He has done for you.
We invite you to share your own Advent recommendations below. What are some books, reading material, podcasts, music, or traditions that point you to Jesus during Christmastime?
Comment below, Roses, and let’s uplift each other!
Written By The Wilting Rose Team
We are a ministry encouraging young women to find their worth in Christ. Many things can make us feel like a “wilted rose,” dry and thirsty, alone and rejected. But God loves even in our brokenness. When He looks at you, He sees a beloved child.
We hope you will be encouraged by the posts here. Remember, no matter what you are going through, you are worthy. Whatever makes you feel wilted, God sees you through the Cross. Because of Christ, we are made worthy.
You are beloved, dear Rose.