5 Favorite Christian Advent Resources

5 of the best free Christian Advent ideas, calendars, and devotionals. Start a new family tradition, teach your children the true meaning of Christmas, or add to your Bible readings with these resources.

We researched, downloaded, vetted, and culled Christian Advent resources to come up with a list of 5 recommendations for both individuals and families. These 5 Christmas plans don’t require a lot of time, advance preparation, or craftiness but they are deep in spiritual truth.

With so many Advent options, you might feel a little overwhelmed at all the choices.

My daughter (Makenna, of She Sees Truth) is an Advent junkie. For years I’ve watched her juggle 8-9 Advent resources at a time. She LOVES this season.

So, a few years ago we began reviewing our top five in this post. It is updated each Christmas to reflect the most recent finds or continue to showcase long-time favorites.

This year, we’ve added our own Advent resource!
So technically, there are SIX, as we didn’t want to take away from one of the other five. You can find out more about Behold at the end of this post or by clicking below:

Behold Advent Journey

We looked for options that weren’t overly complicated and would serve those who were simply looking for help focusing their heart or leading their children.

 

5 of the best free Christian Advent ideas, calendars, and devotionals. Start a new family tradition, teach your children the true meaning of Christmas, or add to your Bible readings with these resources.

Advent: Outline of the 5

A. For Adults / Older Kids:

  1. Video Series: View online
  2. Sermons & Comprehensive guide: Online and/or download
  3. Devotional reading: Downloadable PDF

B. For Families with Young Children:

  1. Jesus’ lineage (Stories of people from Matt. 1)
  2. Names and attributes of Jesus (Object lessons)
A. For Individuals:

1. Video Series: Online

Name: “Advent Word Series”

• Access: thebibleproject.com/advent-word-series-churches/
• Publisher: The Bible Project
• Format: Video
• Focus: Word studies in the context of the biblical story

Includes: 4 videos, Scripture reference guide, assets for churches or groups

Quotes from the Publisher:
“Each week is dedicated to remembering and pondering a key biblical theme that came to its fulfillment in the arrival of Jesus: Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love. In this series, we’ll explore each of these biblical words and their unique meaning within the biblical story.”

My Notes:
I love The Bible Project and their presentation of Scriptural themes and books of the Bible. The format is engaging, informative, and biblically sound. Although this series is billed as being for churches, the focus is great for individuals or even families with older children. If you are on staff at a church, DO check it out and see what all they offer to help you advertise your Advent.

Also see their videos on Luke and the Messiah series. Both of these are great for ALL ages, and if I were still leading children’s ministry I would use them for sure!

Luke chaps 1-2

Messiah series

2. Sermons + Guide: Download/Online

Name: “The Village Advent”

• Access Guide: Click Here
• Access Sermons: Click Here
• Publisher: The Village Church
• Format (Guide): PDF (4-week study + Christmas Eve)
• Format (Sermons): Listen online or download mp3 and/or transcript
• Focus (Guide): Begins in the Garden and goes through anticipated return of Jesus (see publisher notes below)
• Focus (Sermons): 30+ to choose from on Birth of Christ, Prophecy, Waiting, etc.

Guide Includes:
• Weekly reflection for personal study
• Family discipleship devotion with lesson, discussion, songs, activities
• Additional Scriptures for reflection
• Spotify playlist
• Pinterest board for activities
• Recommended Resources list

Quotes from the Publisher:
“This guide contains five weeks of material, with both a study to complete on your own as well as a plan to help families talk about the Advent narrative together.
The family portions are designed to work for families of all shapes and sizes and do not require extensive preparation.
Either portion of the guide can also be used to facilitate discussion within your Home Group or with friends, roommates or other community.

The Advent study walks through the narrative of Jesus’ birth. It begins in the Garden with God’s promise of a Savior and ends with an eager anticipation of Jesus’ promised return.
In the middle, God shows His unmistakable faithfulness in sending the promised Rescuer. We see His love for the lowly and outcast as He proclaims the news of His Son to the shepherds.
We marvel at His heart to see all nations come and worship His Son through the Magi’s journey.”

My Notes:
This is one of the most comprehensive resources I’ve seen. I love that the guide offers both personal reflection and family time ideas.

As for the sermons, I have listened to almost half of them. Matt Chandler is a gifted communicator. I included some of my favorites on our 24-day plan that incorporates my Advent devotional, outreach activities, and favorite sermons. You’ll find links to those sermons in that online schedule here.

3. Devotional: Download

Name: “Good News of Great Joy”

• Access: desiringgod.org/books/good-news-of-great-joy
• Publisher: Desiring God (John Piper)
• Format: PDF or EPUB
• Focus: A mixture of the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth with deeper theological underpinnings about the Christ-child-turned-Savior and how worthy He is to worship. (Luke, Matthew, Hebrews, John, Romans, 1 John, and more are used as the source book for the opening Scripture reflection.)

Includes: Scripture & short reflection

Quotes from the Publisher:
“This book of Advent meditations aims to put Jesus at the center of your holiday season. These readings are excerpted from the ministry of John Piper and correspond to the daily readings in Desiring God’s free devotional app.”

“So, “O Come, Let Us Adore Him” is perhaps the theme song of these Advent readings. These meditations are all about adoring Christ, the Lord. In spots, you’ll hear strands of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,” and in others, “Hark! The Heralds Angels Sing.” And, of course, we’ll have a cameo from the magi. But the figure at the center is Jesus—the baby born in Bethlehem, the God-man in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, destined for Calvary, sent by his Father to die and rise again for his people.”

My Notes:
This is a deep resource for individual reflection.

(Also see “The Dawning of Indestructible Joy” here.)

B. For Families:

1. Jesus’ lineage

 Name: “Genealogy of Jesus (Abraham-Jesus)”

• Access:  jessicalynette.com/genealogy-of-jesus
• Publisher: JessicaLynette.com (Blog)
• Format: Downloadable PDF booklet or access each story via a link online
• Focus: 24 people from Matt. 1 presented in chronological order + Jesus on day 25

Includes:
• Story summary about the character
• Main idea

Quotes from the Publisher:
“The stories are just a very brief glimpse into the lives of these men and women. Their failures and inability to save themselves from their own depravity all beg for a Savior … and God chose this family line to send His only Son into. The Son that would die to pay the price for our sin, and then rise again because death could not hold Him.”

My Notes:
This mom also painted clothespins to represent each character and uses them alongside each reading. She mentions her children love searching for the right character each day and adding it to the display stand while she reads the story.

I have always taught the Bible chronologically to children and there are 20-somethings out there now who tell me it made a big difference in their understanding of the stories as ONE story. One of the churches we ministered with put up a “Jesse tree” and taught about the lineage of Jesus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was always a favorite time for the children.

This resource highlights Jesus as the Savior of ALL sinners and introduces children to Bible characters in time and space.

2. Names of Jesus (Object lessons)

Name: “Knowing Him by Name”

• Access: PDF here
• Publisher: Focus on the Family (Thriving Family)
• Format: Downloadable PDF booklet
• Focus: 25 Names and corresponding attributes of Jesus

Includes:
• Scripture
• Object lesson
• Short summary for parents to teach as the takeaway

Quotes from the Publisher:

{Excerpt as an Example}
Day 4: Son of David
Activity: Find photos of grandparents, great-grandparents or other distant relatives. Talk about things that have been passed down to your children: beliefs, interests, talents, heirlooms. Discuss how family names are passed down, too.
Lesson: Jesus was called the “Son of David” not because His dad’s name was David but because His ancestor was King David, a special king whom God had chosen to rule over Israel. God had said that the Savior of the world would come from David’s family line. And that Savior is Jesus!

My Notes:
Especially with younger children, introducing a concept with an object lesson can be a powerful way to both get their attention and make a memory. This resource — although not chronological — includes a wonderful set of activities that set the children up to absorb a foundational truth about Christ.

This is the 2012 version of Thriving Family’s Advent. We were not impressed with the recent years’ products, as they seem to be a lot of busy work for the parent with less deep truth for the children.

However, by signing up for THIS year’s (2017) free resource here, you will be directed to a page with access to most of the previous years’ downloads.
It’s a great library to peruse, and if you’re into the crafty-cut-and-paste, etc. then they definitely have some resources for you to consider.

My daughter also liked the one from 2014 but it is not available as a free download any longer. (Journey to the Manger, $8.49 on CBD)


New this year: Behold!

My book “Behold” includes 13 Scripture-based devotions centered on a one-word theme
and inspired by favorite lines from treasured Christmas hymns.
The book is available on Amazon.
There’s also a YouTube playlist of related hymns
and a 24-day plan that adds Scripture readings, sermons, and outreach activities to the book’s devotions.

Links to all of this are in one place:

BeholdAdvent.com

Chapter titles in the book BEHOLD

Final Thoughts on Advent:

The word is from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” Although there is no biblical mandate to participate in Advent, churches and Christian families often choose to use the four weeks leading up to Christmas to prepare hearts to “receive the king.”

It’s about choosing to develop a mind full of wonder, a heart overflowing with expectation, and a soul ready to embrace Christ: newborn baby, crucified Savior, and coming King.

However you do that, you will be blessed.

Free Advent resources for individuals and families reviewed in this post. A comprehensive guide!Click To Tweet

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Christi

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Author | Occasional Speaker | Marketing professional ~ · ~ I write and speak so others know they aren't alone and are encouraged to grow in survival-grade faith. ~ · ~ Books: Behold: A Christmas Advent Journey and  Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life

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