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by Rachel Gorman

If I’m honest, I want to make this Christmas season all about me. To enjoy losing myself in the endless distractions. 

December naturally lends itself to easy numbing, doesn’t it? A beautiful season—crisp cold weather, family traditions, the buying, the travel, the delight of holiday food & drink, the cozy nights in front of the fire…so much to enjoy and so much to help us forget. 

Frequently all the “good” morphs into something insatiable and results in unhealth. A morning after feeling of “Why did I eat that?” “Buy that?” I can also get so harried I begin to feel numb to some things. But to paraphrase one of my favorite thinkers—if we numb one thing, we become numb to everything. It’s impossible to pick and choose what we numb. And honestly, I don’t want to miss Christmas because I was comatose. 

I’ve found that when I choose to slow down and spend time reflecting—when all the good things are given their proper place of importance in my life—the joy in them is actually magnified, and even better than I imagined. 

My efforts to gorge on all the decadent happiness then transitions into a slow discipline of gratitude, joy, peace, and ultimately adoration of the beauty of the Maker of all the lovely things. 

These wonderful books for the Advent season have helped me reclaim my focus. I hope they will do the same for you:

  • The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp – a yearly read for me.  Food for the heart and mind.  Audience: predominantly women, but I recommend it for men, too.
  • Honest Advent by Scott Erickson – for those looking for a fresh perspective. I’m reading this for the first time this year, hoping it lives up to expectations. Endorsed by a couple of my favorites, John Mark Comer and Sarah Groves. Audience: men and women.
  • Shadow and Light by Tsh Oxenreideranother new one for me, but one I’m really excited to do with our family this year. Short readings, accompanied by Scripture, a daily Advent playlist, and instructions for lighting the Advent candles. Seems thoughtful but also approachable enough for the whole family. Audience: everyone.
  • Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu- lovely daily perspective on Jesus’ names as they relate to Advent. Audience: women
  • Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller – I haven’t read this one yet but with Tim Keller as the author, it’s a guaranteed win. Audience: men and women
  • Come Let us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp- I’ve enjoyed this daily devotional for several years. I appreciate how accessible it is, while still getting straight to the heart of the matter. Audience: men and women