Christmas is just around the corner, again. And if you’re like me, you battle to have a worshipful Christmas season. There’s just so much to do, so many gifts to buy, and parties to plan that worshipping God for what He has done in Jesus Christ gets pushed to the side.
One way to prepare your heart for Christmas is by reading rich devotional books reflecting on the birth of Jesus. Here are recommended evangelical books to read during Advent to prepare your heart for a worshipful Christmas:
1. Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation by Joel Beeke and William Boekestein
Why Christ Came is divided into 31 chapters that are three or four pages each, serving as a rich devotional study on the implications of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Scripture is the foundation and source of this devotional that is seeped in rich theology from church history, especially the Puritans (which should be no surprise if you have read any of Joel Beeke’s other works, especially Puritan Theology).
This book is radically Christ-centered and presents a wonderful theology of the incarnation, and due to the theological overlap, it serves to build a nice doctrine of Christology as well. If you’re looking for a devotional for personal or family use to prepare yourself to worship at Christmas time, Why Christ Came is a great pick. I give this book my highest recommendation for those seeking to understand the full meaning of Christmas and Christ’s first coming.
[Also see a short summary of contents: 31 Reasons Why Jesus Christ Came to Earth]
2. Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp
Bestselling author Paul Tripp is beloved because of how he applies gospel truths to the human condition. Here’s the publisher’s description:
The wonder and awe of the Christmas season can easily get overshadowed by lights, tinsel, bows, and paper―not to mention last-minute trips to the mall and visits to the in-laws. In all the hustle and bustle, we often lose sight of what’s most important. This book of daily readings for the month of December by best-selling author Paul David Tripp will help you slow down, prepare your heart, and focus on what matters most: adoring our Savior, Jesus.
3. Hosanna in Excelsis: Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season by David and Barbara Leeman
The parents of Jonathan Leeman (of 9Marks) share a hymn-centered devotional for the Christmas season.
Music has always been central to celebrating the coming of Christ into the world. With Hosanna in Excelsis you can experience the hymns of the season like never before. This devotional couples the lyrics and score of a new hymn daily with a devotional message about the hymn’s biblical and spiritual truths. You’ll find hymns of advent like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that anticipate the coming of Christ, hymns of Nativity like “O Little Town of Bethlehem” that celebrate His birth, and hymns of Epiphany like “Go Tell it on the Mountain” that marvel at His glory. Go deeper with classic Christmas favorites like “O Holy Night” and learn others that may be lesser-known like “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry.” Each devotional teaches you about the background of the hymn, while inviting you into worship and praise.
4. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper
From the publisher’s description: “This accessible volume aims to direct individuals, families, and churches to the most glorious dawning of indestructible joy the world has ever seen: the incarnation of the Son of God.”
5. Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent by Sinclair B. Ferguson
A theologian with a pastor’s heart, Sinclair Ferguson shares 24-daily advent devotionals on 1 Corinthians 13, reflecting on the source of authentic, divine, transforming love. Each day has a question for reflection and a prayer.
Other Recommended Books:
- On the Incarnation by Athanasius (with a fantastic introduction by C.S. Lewis)
- The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus by Dan Darling
- Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ by Tim Keller
- The Christmas Promise (children’s book) by Allison Mitchell and Catalina Echeverri
- Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas edited by Nancy Guthrie
- Jesus Came for Me: The True Story of Christmas (Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, Board Book for Children) Jared Kennedy and Trish Mahoney (illustrator)