It is December 1st! Where has the year gone? I keep wondering that as the years get faster as I get older…
Also with December 1 comes the beginning of Advent. If you are like me you can have grand expectations of savoring Jesus in the Christmas season and then all of a sudden it is Christmas Eve, and you are standing at a candlelight service at church singing Silent Night and you realize you have barely meditated on the coming Jesus. Worst feeling.
The last few years I have tried to be more intentional about this, but lets be real – this will be a struggle every year! So, to help you all tune your hearts (and mine) to Jesus this Christmas I wanted to round up a few GREAT resources! Y’all know I LOVE sharing good things when I find them and the past few days I kept thinking of all of the awesome Advent studies releasing today so I decided to compile the whole list here for you to refer to, find links and pass on to friends.
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My friend Carol Ellis of Ellis Illustrations created this study that leads you to dwell on the promises of God in anticipation of Jesus fulfilling them despite our failures. I am excited for this because it is straight scripture with questions to provoke you to pause and reflect on that day’s scripture and promise.
The cool thing about this study is it is a download that comes with 4 beautiful, BEAUTIFUL prints to hang around your home, the devotional calendar, questions, and really cool…a Spotify playlist created to further help you center your heart on Jesus! All for only $5. Seriously, that is amazing!
This study was created for anyone to enjoy! Single ladies, single dudes, married, parents, old, young…I love that. Another great thing is the FREE Kid’s Pack that comes with a coloring map and puzzles for your kids to have fun with each day in December and correlate with the adults study. So this study really could be a one-stop shop for you parents because you would just talk to the kids about what you studied as they color their map or do the puzzle. Put on the Spotify playlist in the car, as you cook dinner, and make it a whole family experience. This would be great for smaller kids who cannot read a study on their own yet.
If you are a mama this devotional is made for you! Abbey Wedgeworth of Gentle Leading is a mama who has a heart to make Jesus known to many and specifically to other mothers. She has created an advent study in past years as well and asks for moms to be the contributing writers! I just think that is so cool how she makes this a community project bringing many together for the one thing that unites us all, even more than motherhood – Jesus Christ.
This year’s theme is, “Our Deliverer.” Each day we will look at how Jesus didn’t come to just save us, but to deliver us from so much! There is freedom in Christ and your heart will be ministered to as you hear how Christ has delivered each of these women from struggles, sin, and hardships that we all can sympathize or identify with. I was honored to be asked to be a contributor this year with such a great group of women. I’m excited to read what everyone will share.
Not only could this minister to you but if you have struggled trying to share Christ with a neighbor, a mom at the library or park, or you want something for your bible study gals to talk through this would be a great suggestion! You will relate to these devotionals and it would be a great conversation starter with friends and family. This study is FREE and emailed straight to your inbox every single morning. Read it if you have a quiet moment with the Lord each day, or while nursing a baby or waiting in line Christmas shopping. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.
I might be particularly proud of this one because it was created by my own husband, Daniel Ritchie! If you have followed along for any amount of time you might have seen me share some of his work occasionally. Daniel is a truly gifted writer, preacher, and has the biggest heart for discipleship and relational ministry! He is also passionate about men growing closer to Jesus and stepping into their call to lead in their homes and church as the spiritual leaders.
There are a lot of Advent devotionals designed for women but not as big of a selection for the men in our lives. This one is written by a man, for men. But ladies, you can read too! If you are married this would be an awesome study for you to recommend to your husband!
The King Is Coming is a daily reading that is FREE and sent straight to your inbox as well. So it would be easy for you to also read it and have a point of discussion over what you both learned that day when you had a free moment to read it. Or if you have a son old enough to read this on his own and discuss it with you over dinner or in the car, he might enjoy a quick study as he grows in His walk with the Lord. Share it with a brother, your dad, any man in your life you think would be encouraged and benefit from their heart being refocused on Jesus this Christmas season.
This Advent study will walk through the eager expectation the Jews had for the Messiah, how His arrival changed a nation, and the world. Finally seeing how our expectation of Jesus coming again shapes every believer today. It will lead you to fall more in love with Jesus.
So Kid Theology is not just an Advent study but an AMAZING resource to parents!! Seriously, if you have not followed this account on social media you need to. Aaron Proffitt is a pastor in Florida who is passionate about parents being the primary voice of discipleship in their kid’s lives. Just listen to their mission statement:
“Kid Theology is a resource that provides content to help uniquely equip parents who in turn disciple their children to know and love Jesus.”
This advent study is another free one, emailed to you each morning and has a verse of the day, explanation, some guiding questions, a small prayer and a downloadable list of an Advent Activity for your family to choose or plan into your schedule for the month. If you struggle to lead your kids in any type of family worship or devotional then THIS is perfect for you! It is all written out for you, very quick and simple for wiggly little ones to sit through yet understand on their level. And honestly, this is a wonderful way to begin the habit of family devotionals if you struggle in this area. The whole website is chock full of other resources to help you as a parent in this area.
You would think I know them or get a cut of this or something but Daniel and I are just really passionate about this topic. After working with students for 14 years and in full-time student ministry for almost 12 years we cannot stress this enough – it is not the church’s responsibility to disciple your children, it is your responsibility. Praise God for churches and youth groups to support parents in this endeavor, to give teaching, resources, and extra “back up,” or to step in when a student doesn’t receive spiritual leadership in the home. Don’t be intimidated. Just start simply and you know what? God will bless your efforts! Just watch.
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I hope that round up was helpful. There really is something for everyone. You can look at what time and effort you can give during this busy season with other commitments and tailor make an Advent study for your family.
Personally, this is how I plan to customize my Advent season this year:
- Morning- Study His Promise, Our Savior as my personal bible study and prayer time before the kids get up.
- Lunch – I try to have a “re-set” as best I can around this time of day. Instead of scrolling away on my phone I plan to read the Our Deliverer devotional and The King Is Coming and meditate and pray on those, and reflect on the questions as I work the rest of the day.
- Evening – As I cook dinner I usually play music while the kids run around. Instead I plan on playing the His Promise, Our Savior playlist and give my kids the coloring map and puzzle and keep them busy with that while I cook.
- Before Bed – We will go through the Kid Theology daily advent study with the kids.
That way my day is spent meditating on the anticipation of Jesus, but in small attainable ways and by the time the kids are in bed, and I have some time alone with Daniel I can discuss his study of the day with him.
Like I said. That is the plan. We all know plans go awry. And that is where grace comes in. So don’t stop and give up if the day is “ruined” because you forgot, or the kids wouldn’t listen. The Christian life isn’t about perfection, it is about His perfection in our failures and that we just don’t stop getting up and going at it again.
If this is helpful share it with a friend please! These resources are for everyone!