25+ Resources For Your Best Advent Ever

Advent was a foreign principle to me until a few years ago. I jumped into the Christmas season as soon as the the clock struck midnight and signified that October was past and November had begun. It took many years for me to realize the significance of cultivating a longing for the birth of Christ. Now, I realize the benefit of seeking to develop a season not of celebration, but of yearing for the coming of Christ. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t do my fair share of celebrating throughout the season but I try to savor the waiting and to spend the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrating the first arrival of Christ and anticipating the day He returns. But this yearning doesn’t happen on its own. Left to itself, the draws of endless stream of commercialism and celebration would take over my heart. I have to cultivate a desire to long for Christ by what I allow into my home and my mind. The first year, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I ordered an Advent wreath for my table and fumbled through what I thought might be appropriate prayers as I lit the candles every night at dinner. It was a little awkward and very simple. But it was lovely. It created a space for the season of longing to be beautiful. Dinner by candlelight not only added a wonderful ambiance to our evenings, but brought our minds to a quieter place to reflect and draw near to God. It made me hungry for more and I began searching for ways to mark the Advent season as one of importance. I have found a few things over the years that I have loved and each year, I’m fall more in love with some of the ways God has moved the hearts of others to signify the season. That’s why I wrote His Name Shall Be Called. I wanted to create a resource to help you stop and center your heart around longing for Jesus and all that He is this Advent season. Here are a few of other books and resources to help create a beautiful Advent season in your home. Some of the links below are affiliates meaning that I receive a small portion (at no extra cost to you) if you decide to purchase as a result. I promise to only post links to…

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Pour Out Your Heart: How Vulnerability Aids Spiritual Warfare

Prayers are carefully guarded, especially in church. We pray sweet little things. For Aunt Sue’s foot surgery. For our trip. For the anger when things don’t go our way. For the weather on our weekend away. For compassion on our coworker who really, really don’t pull their weight. For the practical, polished, polite prayers that are nice to share with our friends. But rarely do we pour out our heart. There is a clear Biblical precedent for being wise with who we decide to share information with. We should cast pearls before swine. But our brothers and sisters in Christ, they aren’t swine. They are the family given to us by God. We are called to bear one another burdens, but that’s quite difficult when we don’t trust the person next to us in the pew enough to listen to our burdens, let alone walk alongside us through the valleys of life and the wars waged in our hearts. When we lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus, it should be an invitation for the Body of Christ to come alongside us. In John 12, when Mary came to the feet of Christ to extravagantly anoint His feet. But she finished her act of worship by pouring out her heart and washing Christ’s feet with her tears, streaming from her face. This wasn’t a private act of emotional extremity; it was a public way of praising her Lord. Her worship, her tears, were poured out in view of all. Mary’s example is a precious one to follow when walking out our Christian life with other believers. Too often we retreat into ourselves when Christ is calling us to boldly call upon others to witness our hearts, broken and vulnerable before the Lord. It’s not for show, but rather to honestly and openly unite the Body of Christ. Often, our hearts are not weighed by the things we share on Sunday mornings. Our valleys are not bad weather on vacation or annoying coworkers. They run much deeper than that. Friend, the love of Christ can reach your deepest valleys and often, He does that through His Church. When we pray, let us pray for the true trials and joys we face. It’s hard, vulnerable work to open the door and let someone into your hurt. Marriages that are struggling, children that are wandering from the faith, the stains on sin…

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The Resurrection and the Life – An Advent Devotional

  The following is a short preview of my upcoming ebook, His Name Shall Be Called, an Advent devotional exploring the names of Christ. I’d love for you to join in on the full study upon its release. Find out more here.  “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” -John 11:25-26, ESV When Jesus said these words and proclaimed this name for all of us, He was standing at the grave of a dear friend, talking to a grieving sister. This passage contains the shortest verse in the Bible. Two little words that share the heart of God, “Jesus wept.” His heart is open and vulnerably sharing that pain we feel over death. We feel this pain every day. We see attacks on the news, witness car accidents, and sit with loved ones as they take their last breath. One moment they’re here and the next, we stare into blank eyes and know, they are gone. Our hearts were not built to bear this pain. Our minds were not made to comprehend the “Why?” we find ourselves asking. Death was not meant to be part of our experience on this Earth. When Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, we see that we are not alone in our pain. God did not create us for a world filled with death, so He came Himself to conquer it. He humbled Himself to death on a cross but that was not the end of the story. When He rose, He gave us the hope of life. Death lost its hold on this world. But we still live in that funny, “already, not yet” moment where we are waiting to see the full implication of this name of Christ. We saw Him defeat death by raising Lazarus from the grave. We know that He Himself was raised to life 3 days after His death. But we still have heartache, sometimes, more during this season than any other time of year. We long for the friend, who suffered so bravely before the cancer claimed her body. We miss the grandmother whose mind succumbed alzheimer’s disease years before her body left this world. We mourn the little one who was the victim of that terrible accident.…

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It’s the Hygge-est Time of the Year: A Cozy Holiday Review and Giveaway 

To win a copy of Everyday Welcome: Cozy Holidays and a few other delightful hygge inspired treats, be sure to read through the entire post.  A few weeks ago when I wrote about hygge hospitality, I was already thinking about how to make the holiday season cozier. Because when it comes to creating special, intimate, cozy moments, there is no time like the holidays to incorporate these things into your life. Spending time this holiday season to slow down and create cozy should be a priority in a season but sometimes, it’s hard to know where to begin in the hustle and bustle. Thankfully, Angela Sackett at Sal et Lux was way ahead of me, creating a book that helps bring hygge, holidays, food, and faith all together into a bundle of goodness. Note, I did receive a copy of Everyday Welcome: Cozy Holidays in exchange for this review but all opinions are my own.  Everyday Welcome: Cozy Holidays, charmed me with its delightful incorporation of faith into cooking and extending hospitality throughout the holiday season. Sackett’s mouthwatering recipes will certainly be rotating through my family’s routine of Christmas recipes for years to come. The mouth-watering photos and unique recipes, ranging from breakfast to festive drinks, are sure to inspire your palate this season. Her touches of natural foliage and candlelight draw you into her home and inspire a delightful sense of hygge. Everywhere your eyes are drawn, there’s another moment of special being cultivated. Between the decor tips, seasonal crafts, and recipes, there is enough to make your home look and smell like a winter wonderland. But this isn’t just a book about appearances, it is a book about the heart. Constantly peppered throughout the pages are beautiful passages of Scripture that encourage us to open our hearts and homes to one another. And then there are practical ways to do just that. There are ways to help make your overnight guests feel more comfortable and idea after idea of parties to celebrate the season and cultivate deeper friendships. This is such a wonderful time to pursue friendships deeply. The holiday season is a time to open wide your doors and your hearts and invite others in to participate in the joy of the season with you. As believers, we have the unique opportunity to celebrate and explain a holy day that many non-believers are also celebrating. Everyday Welcome:…

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You Were Born for Today – Stepping Out in Faith in the Extraordinary, Mundane Days

Often, my days have been marked by waiting. Waiting to grow-up so I could move away. Waiting on the latest iPhone. Waiting on college admissions responses. Waiting on a husband. Waiting on military orders. Waiting in the check-out line. Waiting for babies. Waiting to be closer to family. Waiting for doctor’s appointments. Waiting for a call-back. Waiting for deployments to end. Waiting for a big idea. Waiting for the next thing that’s going to fix everything and infuse purpose into my life. Because surely, days spent in line at the grocery store, walking dogs, serving in the nursery, and making dinners aren’t the days God had in mind when He created me. Surely there was a different, a better, a grander plan than this one. So I wait. I do what I must, but deep in my heart, I wait for God to come and, like the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, poof me into the life He really created me for. Realistically, if He could just send one of His servants to whisk me away to the life He wanted for me, I would be content. No magic wand is actually needed. But in quiet moments when I’m listening for His voice, when I’m seeking His heart in prayer, I hear the words spoken to Esther echoing in my head. Esther knew all about waiting, praying, begging, God for another to do the work He had handed her. In a twisted Cinderella story, her life as an orphan was changed forever when the king mandated that she be brought to the palace and later, chose to marry her. But then, her people, the Jews, were the target of a massive genocide. She was in a position to help, a position to plead at the feet of the king on behalf of her people, but knew that it might cost her her very life. She was prepared to look the other way until her uncle stopped her and asked if perhaps she’d been given her position for just this moment. These words stop me in my tracks as I wait in line at the grocery store. Was I born for this moment right here? Maybe all of the waiting, all of the hoping and pining for me real purpose was causing me to miss out. What if each and every moment God has ordained for me to walk this earth isn’t…

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