Simple and Holy: Favorite Advent Readings

Mary by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1914

Our Advent readings over the years have varied greatly.  When there were lots of diapers to change, I tried following different programs and crafty ways to go about readings for Advent.  What worked best for us?  When I simply read a few verses from the Advent readings and we narrated. Simple.  Holy. A lot like school.

But when I could take the time and space to read more deeply for myself, the children benefited too.  Eventually, what I liked to do was to have my own quiet reading and then I could share a simple part of that with everyone - whether it was a piece of art, Scripture, hymn, or a prayer. Simple. Holy. A lot like school. 

The following books are my favorites.  They go deep into the heart and reason for Advent.

1. The Cloud of Witness
 The Cloud of Witness begins with Advent readings.  Since each new week and theme begins on Saturday, November 28th would begin the Advent readings on page 4.  Read along with us and anticipate His coming.  As of now, Riverbend Press is where it is sold.  Unless you live near me, in which case just send me an email and arrange to pick it up to save shipping!

2. God With Us
God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas
Edited by Pennoyer and Wolfe
Sumptuous, illuminating, and redemptive.  Be still and be quiet with fine art, thoughtful essays, and Scripture to meditate on.  Make sure you find the illustrated version. Also available from Paraclete Press.

 3. Light upon Light
3. Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany
Sarah Arthur
Sarah signed my copy with "Here's to holy dreaming!" How could I NOT love it?! I am a big fan of At the Still Point and am anticipating Between Midnight and Dawn.  Her books remind me of an expanded version of The Cloud of Witness with more contemporary authors added.

For even more book recommendations, here are all my posts about Advent and Christmas books:

What to Read For Christmas
Full Hearts
On Christmas Traditions and Books
Good King Wenceslas
The Canticle of the Bees
Longing and Waiting 
Christmas Books!
Christmas Books 2014 



  1. What a lovely painting!
    I love the point you make about it being simple. Read, then narrate. Just like school! I love the way you expressed that! :) Because when we are reading these BEAUTIFUL books, reading and narrating has so much power.

    I'm chuckling because I'm all over the place in The Cloud of Witness, but it is just LOVELY, Nancy, wherever I happen to be reading ;).
    Thanks for introducing it to a broader audience.
    Between you and The Living Books Library gals I am SO IN THE RED with my book fund! ;) I love it!
    I'm so glad for these great titles you share with us.

    Oh yes, thanks for the reminder on Sarah Arthur!!! I have the new one on my wishlist ;) and I so enjoyed Still Point.

    I'm thankful for you! :)

  2. Thank you so much for the suggestions. Seasonal books are much-loved here and I have started a rather respectable Christmas library for my children, but don't have as much for me (though I enjoy the children's Advent and Christmas books as much as they do). I plan to buy one of these books as a pre-Advent gift for myself this year--I'll just have to choose which one.

    Thanks for all the reading inspiration (and wisdom... since I emailed you on the topic of reading today!).

  3. I am so grateful for your sharing Nancy! I am combing through all your Advent/Christmas book list posts this afternoon. I am happy to report I'll be reading through The Cloud of Witness and have several children's book on hold at the library.