Those of us on many publisher and ministry mailing lists are starting to see the ramp-up toward Advent. A popular offering from many organizations is the free booklet of Advent devotions.
Often a team effort to produce, they are as much an exercise of discipleship for the authors as for the readers—as congregations who write their own devotionals quickly realize.
The sense I usually get when I’ve chosen a set to follow is that I’ve joined a group of pilgrims on a journey together. Sometimes I regret the decision before we’ve even heard from John the Baptist. Other years I’m particularly grateful for the companionship in what can be a dark and lonely season (especially if you’re a student making the push toward finals or someone recently bereaved heading into the holidays with a deep sense of loss).
My sense from previewing Taking the Advent Story Home is that the folks at Vibrant Faith Ministries are an excellent band of fellow travelers (full disclosure: I contribute to one of their big projects). Their particular gift is a fundamental commitment to going beyond what I’ll call the “drive-by devotional” (think: read, pause, go on with the day).
For faith lessons to stick, they know, we usually need to go deeper, to do something with them, to “Teach them to [our] children, talking about them when [we] are at home and when [we] are away, when [we] lie down and when [we] rise” (Deuteronomy 11:19, NRSV). As always, that’s what this team sets out to help you and I do.
In this booklet, each day in December receives a fourfold treatment according to the “Four Keys of Practicing Faith” from the Vibrant Faith Frame: devotions, caring conversations, rituals and traditions, and service.
Not all of the activities or conversation suggestions will work for me or my household, or for you and yours. But that reality is both inevitable and kinda the point. Forming mature faith is about taking responsibility for our own spiritual development, learning what works and what doesn’t for ourselves and our families—through counsel and advice from others, sure, but also through trial and error.
Those looking for seasonal devotions paired with ideas for practicing faith will find in this beautifully designed e-book a wealth of suggestions to choose from. And some faithful companions with whom to wait for our Lord in wonder.
Kyle Matthew Oliver (@kmoliver) is the digital missioner and learning lab coordinator in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching.