Advent Guide for December
The Daily Steps devotional is taking a break for the holiday season, so we invite you to use these advent resources for preparing your heart and mind to celebrate the coming of the Christ child. These activities, studies, books, videos, and reading plans are perfect for personal reflection and worship or to do together with your spouse, family, neighbors, or closest friends. We will resume our usual Daily Steps devotionals in January to correspond with the next sermon series.
BRING OUT THE JOY!
The Christmas season is supposed to embody peace, hope, joy, and love, yet many of us are struggling to experience these comforting emotions this year. We long for God’s love to fall fresh upon us, soften the edges of our raw feelings, and renew our wonder and appreciation for the greatest gift of all... the birth of our Savior. Taking the time daily to just breathe and sit quietly for a few moments with your Heavenly Father opens up a path to renewal of your heart, mind, and soul in the weeks leading up to Christmas morning. When our minds pause to wonder and reflect on His love, our hearts can then begin to see His love around us... in people, nature, circumstances, moments. Walking this path during Advent takes practice and requires commitment, but the joy of the Christ Child will be yours again. The wonder of Christmas and its true meaning are waiting on you. What are you waiting for?
Make a Joy Jar & Start Filling it Up
True, lasting joy begins with gratitude. A thankful heart opens our eyes to see blessings all around us. EVERY DAY during the month of December, we encourage you to recognize something you are thankful for and write it down on a card or a piece of paper. You’ll then add that card or piece of paper to a jar that you will have set aside as your Joy Jar. This Joy Jar will collect your daily joy recognitions and on January 1st, 2021, as the new year begins, we encourage you to empty your jar and take some time to reflect back on those pieces of joy in your life. Even better, plan a time to share the joys you've written down with your spouse, a friend, or with your family!
Make it even more fun! Visit our Joy Jar page for ideas to enrich your Joy Jar experience even more! On this page, you'll find beautiful printables and 25 days of joy-inspiring prompts to get you going. Once you start, you may find it hard to stop!
Nourish Your Soul and Fill Up Your Mind
Focusing your mind and minimizing all the distractions around you is especially difficult during the holiday season. When you set aside some time to be with Jesus and experience Him by reading and studying Scripture, praying, meditating, and listening to His Spirit, you will experience the fullness of Christmas in new and deeply meaningful ways.
The following is a list of resources to guide you into renewal and wonder this Advent season. We've included a combination of video-based Bible studies, books, and devotional reading recommendations suitable for individual reflection or study with family or friends. (NOTE: You can get a FREE subscription to Right Now Media to watch the videos we've recommended. Just fill out this form for access!)
The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
Ideal for family readings or personal daily devotionals, The Greatest Gift is a moment of calm amid the busy holiday season. Join bestselling author Ann Voskamp as she leads you through a celebration of the majesty of God's greatest gift to us—His son, Jesus Christ. With 25 daily readings leading up to Christmas, the book traces the lineage of Jesus using the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree. The book is available in hardcover or e-book formats. There's also a companion family activity book packed with vivid, full-color illustrations, downloadable ornaments, discussion questions, and moving scenes from the Bible.
Or, if you prefer to watch a video series, join Ann Voskamp on Right Now Media* as she takes you even deeper into Scripture and illuminates the magnificence of God's Word through the unfurling of the greatest love story ever told—God's ardent and relentless pursuit of us.
Advent by J.D. Greear
Perfect for families to watch together or to share with your neighbors, this beautifully-shot video series will remind you of the true story behind Christmas, which is so much more than a sentimental myth or a quiet manger scene we use to decorate our living rooms. The Christmas story is the good news of God entering into our darkness. Join J.D. Greear as he takes a deeper look at Jesus as Emmanuel, our Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father, and the great I Am. When you know Jesus, you will realize Christmas is more than a nice story—the arrival of Jesus changes everything. Watch it now on Right Now Media.*
Also available by J.D. Greear: Searching for Christmas, a book that introduces people to the awesome God at the heart of the familiar Christmas story and helps them discover the joy, hope, purpose, and belonging we're all searching for.
God Came Near by Max Lucado
In the midst of the gloom of winter, the darkest and coldest of seasons, Christians still wait with great anticipation for the happiest season of all, Advent. In this visually stunning six-part video series on Right Now Media, you can travel back in time and relive the coming of Christ to Earth as He gives up His throne next to God the Father to enter this world as a baby born in a manger. Filmed at England's beautiful Blockley Church, join acclaimed author and pastor Max Lucado as he provides insights on the season of Advent.
Go even further with one of America's most engaging writers with the companion God Came Near book. Written in an easy-to-read, storytelling manner, this beloved classic never gets old.
*Right Now Media is available FREE of charge to you when you get a subscription through Cornerstone Fellowship. Just fill out this form to get started.
Advent Devotional Reading Plans
Check out these free Apps to choose from hundreds of Advent-related Bible reading plans with devotional messages.
The Bible App by YouVersion - Access hundreds of Advent plans from authors, teachers, and pastors on their website or through the YouVersion smartphone or tablet App. Ranging in length, depth, and topic, you're sure to find an Advent plan that speaks to your heart. The App also includes dozens of translations of the Bible -- all FREE!
She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth - These popular Apps offer men and women an online-community-based Advent reading plan that kicks off December 1st. Visit the women's website or the men's website to learn more, or just download the free App to get started.