The United Methodist Publishing House and the Upper Room have produced books and resources to help churches and individuals prepare for Advent in a spirit of hope during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and anxiety. As we face ongoing uncertainty about the future, we look for hope in the promise of Jesus' coming. The resources cover a variety of topics and themes for individual or small group study or in classrooms.
Prepare the Way for the Lord: Advent and the Message of John the Baptist
The Rev. Adam Hamilton explores the Advent themes of John’s life and ministry, and how John calls all followers of Jesus to prepare our hearts for his coming. In each of the Gospels, the story of Jesus is intertwined with that of his cousin John, the one whom the prophets foretold would come to “prepare the way of the Lord.” When we hear the message of John the Baptist, it makes us and our world ready to receive Christ. Each week has a different lesson for each week of Advent. This resource is available in hardcover, large print, or ebook formats. Readers can also purchase a leader guide, leader kit, DVD, a worship series and/or media download.
The Angels of Christmas
The Rev. Susan Robb explores the four angelic visits surrounding the birth of Jesus with Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. In this study, the reader will explore the visits and dive deep into the history of the angel Gabriel–and other angels–in the Old Testament. The Angels of Christmas uses these four angelic appearances to discuss God’s presence in history and our lives today. The messages of the angels hold meaning for listeners both then and now. The book is available in both paperback and ebook formats. Along with the book itself, readers can also purchase a DVD, leader guide and/or leader kit.
The Heart That Grew Three Sizes: Finding Faith in the Story of the Grinch
The Rev. Matt Rawle explores the rich faith themes in the beloved Dr. Seuss classic of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". This Advent and Christmas season look at a familiar classic through the lens of faith and see how Christ speaks to us through our culture. Along with the book itself readers can purchase a four-week Advent study include a DVD featuring Matt Rawle, a comprehensive leader guide, and resources for children and youth.
All the Good: A Wesleyan Way of Christmas
The Rev. Dr. Laceye C. Warner, Dr. Amy Valdez Barker, Dr. Jung Choi, Dr. Sangwoo Kim will take you on an Advent journey guided by the practices in John Wesley’s means of grace. Each chapter guides participants through one of the four weeks of Advent by reflecting on biblical passages in light of an aspect of Wesleyan means of grace highlighted by illustrations and stories. Readers will look at preparing the way for God, the impact and significance of prayer, the substance of good works and caring for others, and sharing God’s mission to the world. Along with the book itself readers can purchase a leader guide, leader kit, a DVD and book of devotionals.
Good News of Great Joy: Advent Reflections on the Songs of Luke
The Rev. Max O. Vincent introduces us to four canticles (“little songs”) in the Gospel of Luke surrounding the story of Jesus’ birth. Through 24 meditations he invites us to reflect more deeply on Luke’s nativity story, calls us to look for signs of God’s presence today, and creates a longing for God’s full presence in the future. Available in both print and eBook formats.
Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas
The Rev. Todd Outcalt takes you on an inward journey to the miracle of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem contains devotions for the 28 days of Advent, the 12 days of Christmas, and the day of Epiphany. Includes a 6-week study guide. Available in both print and eBook form.
Making Room: Sharing the Love of Christmas
The Rev. Ed Robb, senior pastor of Woodlands United Methodist in Texas, has released a new book to help Christians make room in their hearts for God and neighbor this Christmas. This four-week study explores the warmth of welcome at Christmas following interactions with the Holy Family, the shepherds, and the magi. The story of Christ’s birth encourages us to widen our borders and increase our sense of community to make room for others. "Making Room" is available in paperback and e-book formats. Readers can also purchase a leader guide and leader kit.
Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent
Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt University professor of New Testament and Jewish studies, dives into the biblical narratives and traditions surrounding Jesus’ birth. Beginning with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and ending with the visit of the Magi, Levine explores the relationship of the Gospel narratives to the Old Testament, the important role of women in the story and the historic events surrounding the time of Jesus’ birth. “Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent“ can be purchased separately or as part of a kit, which also includes a leader guide and a DVD featuring Levine.
Philip J. Brooks is a writer and content developer with the leader communications team at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.