Christmas is perhaps the most popular topic among devotionals this year, with nearly a dozen Advent titles publishing between now and October. These numbered readings, which center on the birth of Jesus, are intended to help Christians deepen their faith while adding joy to the festive season. Often bought as gifts, many of this year’s offerings feature decorative covers and colorful illustrations.
“Whether to expound on joy or bring comfort to sorrow, Christmas devotionals are wonderfully giftable for so many,” says MacKenzie Howard, executive editor, children’s and gift books, for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. She adds that this subset of books “are a great way to root people in the real meaning of the season and to create and cultivate traditions with family and friends.”
Following the success of its 2004 bestselling devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, as well as the author’s follow-up devotionals Jesus Always and Jesus Listens, HCCP’s Thomas Nelson division is publishing Jesus Listens—for Advent and Christmas, with Full Scriptures: Prayers for the Season (Oct.). The seasonal offering features prayers and reflections, as well as quotes from scripture and festive illustrations aimed at helping readers find a peaceful moment. HCCP’s Howard says devotionals such as Jesus Listens—For Advent and Christmas can also be a source of comfort and hope for readers. “The holidays are a wonderful but often busy and stressful time of year,” she explains. “For this book in particular, we want readers to know that Jesus is listening to their prayers.”
At Baker Books, editorial director Rebekah Guzman had not been pursuing Christmas books or devotionals in recent years, but she notes that more and more people are turning to these resources today. “Readers have shown they want messages that remind them of the joy in this season and help them celebrate the beauty of Christmas and what it’s all about,” she says.
To that end Baker’s The Gifts of Christmas: 25 Joy-Filled Devotions for Advent (Oct.) by Sheila Walsh combats feelings of weariness that can result from Christmas parties, shopping, and the overall busyness of the season. It’s the first devotional by Walsh, a Bible teacher, television host, and author whose books, including It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, have sold over 5.5 million copies, according to the publisher. “Sheila’s message is evergreen and full of wonder, joy, expectancy, and grace, and will be read for many years to come at Christmastime,” Guzman says.
Additional Advent devotionals publishing this year are below
The Advent of Glory
The Good Book Co., Oct.
Based on edited talks by Bible teacher Sproul, these monthlong readings aim to encourage readers to slow down amid the holiday rush. Sproul writes that the story of the birth of Jesus is so familiar to Christians that “the words just slip over us,” and urges readers to slow down and absorb the words anew.
Born a Child and Yet a King: The Gospel in the Carols: An Advent Devotional
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Wolgemuth examines the story of Jesus found in Christmas carols in this monthlong devotional. “As those familiar songs fill your home again this season, listen closely,” the publisher says.
Heaven’s Light Breaking: A 25-Day Advent Devotional
K-LOVE Books, Oct.
Laurie, a pastor, collects prayers and quotes from the Bible alongside descriptions of events from the virgin birth of Jesus to the visit from the magi. The entries aim to help readers focus on the joy of the season, connect with God, and mindfully celebrate Christmas.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: A Liturgy for Daily Worship from Advent to Epiphany
Gibson, a Presbyterian minister, offers readings from November 28 to January 6 that feature guided meditations and excerpts from scripture, hymns, and prayers. “How can Christians effectively prepare their hearts for the arrival of their king and worship him the way he deserves?” the publisher asks.
Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations
Meta Herrick Carlson
Carlson, a pastor and a poet, looks at what she calls “the holy beneath the hustle” of the season by highlighting the beauty that can be found in small moments. Blessings include those for sobriety, mall santas, bare branches, canceled flights, and over 100 more.
Prepare Your Heart: A Guided Advent Journal for Prayer and Meditation
Ave Maria, out now.
This four-week devotional suggests acts of service readers can do for those in need while supplying daily meditations, reflection questions, prayers, and space for journaling.
Salvation Has Come: 25 Christmas Devotions in Luke
Focusing on the Gospel of Luke, pastor Matte attempts to provide readers with joy and peace by highlighting Jesus’s story from birth to
death, and to resurrection and ascension.
Star of Wonder: An Advent Devotional to Illuminate the People, Places, and Purpose of the First Christmas
Twenty-five devotions combine storytelling with biblical historical truths in order to bring the Nativity to life, according to the publisher. Hunt, a novelist, spotlights people such as Joseph and Mary as well as places such as Bethlehem and Nazareth that played a role in the birth of Christ in an effort to “shine light on the wonder of that night so long ago.”