“And so, to understand the truly radical nature of Advent, it is necessary to get its relation to Christmas in perspective…”
“In a very real sense, the Christian community lives in Advent all the time. It can well be called the Time Between, because the people of God live in the time between the first coming of Christ, incognito in the stable in Bethlehem, and his second coming, in glory, to judge the living and the dead. In the Time Between “our lives are hidden with Christ in God, when Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3: 3-4). Advent contains within itself the crucial balanced of the now and the not-yet that our faith requires.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ
Welcome to the 2023 Hearts & Minds Advent Book List, a yearly extravaganza that I love sharing. There are some perennial classics that I would love to remind you of (so please check out HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE.) There are some recent ones that maybe came out in the last few years but that are not yet well known. Happily, there are plenty of brand new ones. There really is something for everyone.
(I will do children’s Advent and Christmas books in another post, soon.)
I often say that while Lenten spiritual practices are somewhat more sober and intense and Easter is, obviously, the most important Christian high holy day there is, for many of us, Advent is our favorite time of the year. I think it is wise to not overemphasize the countdown to Christmas and recapture the older, truer meaning of this slow, longing, season of our liturgical calendar, but, let’s face it: there is a lot of joy — even as we struggle with very hard things — in focusing on the hope of Christ’s final victory, the return coming when all will be (as Brits like C.S. Lewis and N.T. Wright put it) sorted out and put to rights. Whether you and your family or group is somewhat new to the liturgical practices of this waiting/hoping season or whether you are a seasoned soul, whether you are upbeat this time of year or somewhat dreading it, these books can help.
There are others we have in the store and there are hundreds of others that can be found. We’ve curated this list for you, selecting what we have found to be the most interesting or helpful for our discerning (and delightfully but really diverse) BookNotes readership. All are 20% off (with a few small exceptions, noted below.) Send us an order today, please.
WEEKLY STUDIES AND THOSE GOOD FOR GROUPS OR BOOK CLUBS
Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) $30.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00
Buy this and you’ll hardly need to buy much more for years as it is a thick substantive collection of dozens of sermons. It is, I often say, one of my all time favorite collections and it is lasting years and years and I read and read essays and mostly sermons (many which she calls “pre-Advent) into Christ Our King Sunday and through the Advent season. Get some folks together and pick a few to study together, one or two a week. There is nothing programmatic or any discussion questions, just great chapters. You can do this.
Invigorating — edgy, intelligent, unflinching, and joyful in all it reclaims. A timely, lively, prophetic word. — Marilyn McEnytyre, author of Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
Fleming Rutledge’s Advent preaching bursts upon us with the same elemental force as the preaching of John the Baptist…Do not drive anesthetized through another season of Advent; read this book. — Richard Hays, author of Reading with the Grain of Scripture
The First Advent in Palestine: Reversals, Resistance, and the Ongoing Complexity of Hope Kelly Nikondeha (Broadleaf Books) $24.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99
This is nothing short of stunning and we very highly recommend it this year. There are maybe 10 chapters so it might be harder to do in five weeks with a group, but maybe you could do two chapters each sessions. (They are fairly short, if eloquent and very thoughtful.) Wow.
Kelly has written a wonderful pair of Eerdmans books, one called Adoption about “the sacrament of belonging” (viewing adoption both theologically and rather practically as a white woman living in Africa in an adoptive, bi-racial and multinational family) that was beautifully provocative. Her second one is also not to be missed, an eloquent and passionate reflection called Defiant:What the Women of Exodus Teach Us About Freedom. What a writer she is and a bit of a hero of ours.
Although she lives in Burundi, in East Africa, Nikondeha has long been interested in the plight of Palestinians and has amplified voices there. With blurbs from the likes of Shadia Qubit and Naim Ateek and James Zogby, you will know that this author and her book are highly regarded and respected. I do not know anything quite like this, rooted so clearly in the Biblical narrative and yet with this very contemporary application. This really is an excellent authentically Christmasy advent book.
If you are wearied by or bored with the sentimentality and careless religious nostalgia of American Advent and Christmas, this is the book for you. Kelley Nikondeha takes a deep, alert dive into the natal poetry of the Gospels that has become for us too trite and jaded in its familiarity. She reads this poetry differently because she has, at the same time, made a deep investment in the contemporary life of real people in the actual circumstances of Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, people who happen to be Palestinians who continue to be outsiders to imperial power. The outcome of her bold reading is to see that these Gospel texts initiated a peace movement into the world that defies and subverts the phony peace of every imperialism. This rich, suggestive book permits us to reappropriate in knowing ways the good news of Advent-Christmas, news that destabilizes and emancipates. — Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, author of Names for the Messiah: An Advent Study
The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ Timothy Keller (Penguin) $16.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80
This is an excellent, intelligent, faithful survey of the reasons for Christmas, what has been called “a profoundly moving and intellectually provocative” examination of the nativity story.
There are hard edges to the Christmas story and this illuminating journey may be surprising to traditional Christians (or those who don’t see themselves as religious but can’t escape the season’s presence.) In other words, this is a great gift book for Christians wanting to dig a bit deeper and know why they believe (or even some of what they believe) and for seekers or or unchurched folks who wonder about this talk of the redeeming power of God in this curious question of incarnation. Perhaps yoiu know a skeptical (or religiously disinterested) college student. Give ’em this, please!
As a great Reformed pastor, Keller is known for a gospel-centered message; that is, we cannot rescue ourselves, we can not rustle up the magic or meaning to sustain a purposeful life. If we cannot generate within ourselves enough, then what do we do? Christmas, as Christians of all sorts confess, is very good news indeed, the answer to our human predicament, which he explores curiously and realistically. I love this book, thoughtful without being stuff, offering a winsome apologetic for anyone willing to think things through.
There are eight interesting chapters, but none are too lengthy. Your group could do two chapters for four weeks, easily, or stretch it out a bit. Highly recommended.
Advent Is the Story: Seeing the Nativity throughout Scripture — A Journey of Reading Through the Advent Season Daniel Spanjer (Square Halo Books) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
I waited for this book a long time — I know that Mr Spanjer is a highly respected public leader in Lancaster; he is a department chair and professor of history at Lancaster Bible College and is involved in Alcuin Society, a thoughtful evangelical ministry among college professors in higher education. His pastor at Wheatland Presbyterian was very encouraging of this project and it ended up to be a fabulous little book. I really want to recommend it to you and thank the good folks at Square Halo for offering such a Biblically-wise Advent title to their classy inventory.
It is compact in size and jam-packed with Bible study and thoughtful Scripture reflections, insisting that the coming of Jesus is the Bible’s story. It is arranged as a daily devotional but the entries are grouped in such as way that a small group could use it individually day by day and then come together weekly to discuss that week’s theme.
The rich readings are grouped in six sections, each with a primary topical essay and then the daily reflections which follow. These topics include The Word, The Temple, The King, The Exodus, The Sacrifice, and The Now and the Not Yet (ending on December 31st.)
I love how Heidi Johnston (author of the UK release, Life in the Big Story: Your Place in God’s Unfolding Plan) puts it:
This is an Advent book that goes where many others do not… From Eden to Babel, from the promised land to the New Jerusalem, this book reminds us that all of history has been marked by the same drumbeat of hope, as God relentlessly pursues the people he loves, stopping at nothing to make his dwelling place among them.
Prepare the Way for the Lord: Advent and the Message of John the Baptist Adam Hamilton (Abingdon Press) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
I am sure that if you are a person who follows religious publishing at all you have heard the name of Adam Hamilton. We respect him a lot and I think that as his popularity has grown he has matured and developed. He’s not too heavy, but is learned. He’s not too punchy but he has great concerns about peace, justice, and civic leadership. He’s not too preachy but has an evangelical heart. He’s a pastor of a huge United Methodist Church but seems really down to Earth. This one looks really, really good.
Philip Yancey has said that Hamilton has “proven to be a faithful guide to applying the Bible to modern life in a sane and balanced way.” Brian McLaren calls him “a national treasure” who “embodied the kind of generous orthodoxy so many of us have been dreaming of and praying for.”
This book has four fairly short chapters and a nice fifth “afterword” piece. There is, as there usually are with many of his book, a DVD, a Leader’s Guide and even a youth edition. Check out his older ones, too, like Not A Silent Night or The Journey, which we also have. For now, though, we celebrate this 2023 release, Prepare the Way for the Lord: Advent and the Message of John the Baptist as a stand alone book, or to be used in a book study or the fabulous DVD study.
- Book $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
- DVD $39.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $31.99
- Leader’s Guide $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99
The Angels of Christmas: Hearing God’s Voice in Advent Susan Robb (Abingdon Press) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
This handsome four chapter book invites us to “experience the angelic visits surrounding the birth of Jesus.” I suspect this has been done before, somewhere, but I do not know of any four session study that offers this fascinating glimpse into the angelic visits in the seasonal narrative.
Susan Robb recently retired as the Senior Associate Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas (where she served for more than 20 years.) Believable, thoughtful, a great preacher, Susan’s loves teaching the Bible and inviting folks into conversational Bible studies. There is no doubt that she is a gifted, practical scholar, a educator in and for the local church.
Naturally, a study like this is getting at not only the nature of these miraculous events, but, notably, GOd’s presence in our own daily lives. As one reviewer put it, she intersects the miraculous happenings of 2000 years ago with the experiences of people’s lives — their joys, sufferings, and hopes. What a beautiful way to hear and study the Nativity story.”
Our old friend who used to live in York, the Rev. Alyce McKenzie (professor of preaching and worship at Perkins School of Theology) says this has Robb’s “trademark clarity and eloquence” and is “ideal for personal growth or small group study.” She even recommends it for all-church studies tied to the sermons of Advent.
- Book $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
- DVD $39.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $31.99
- Leader’s Guide $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99
Names for the Messiah: An Advent Study Walter Brueggemann (Westminster/John Knox) $15.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.00
If you scroll back through the archived BookNotes from previous Advent lists you will see this little study listed a few times. This is how I described it a year or so ago: Names for the Message has the brilliant Biblical scholar Walt Brueggemann holding forth in rich essays about the four names of the son who has been given to us as described in Isaiah 9:6. There is in the back a four-week study guide and discussion questions for group conversation complete with a closing prayer.
This tackles some tough historical questions too — what would the Jews in exile have thought about this oracle from the prophet? Did Jesus fulfill this hope; naturally, Christians believe Jesus was the royal Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, and Brueggemann helps us tease out the implications.
Advent in Plain Sight: A Devotion Through Ten Objects Jill J. Duffield (Westminster/John Knox) $16.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80
I wrote about this when it came out two years ago. Here is what I said, then, gladly: we premiered last spring a similar one by this author, Lent in Plain Sight, and had so much good feedback on the Lenten one we were glad to see a new Advent one as well. It has great possibilities for a study group or book club or adult ed class.
What an interesting way into the story, focusing on eight objects (and a bonus ninth, the water of Jesus’s baptism) — gates, tears, belts, trees, cloth, light, hearts, gold, water. There are discussion questions and a prayer after each chapter. You could do two chapters each week for four weeks and there would be plenty to ponder. Short, interesting, fresh.
DAILY ADVENT DEVOTIONALS
The Art of Advent: A Painting a Day from Advent to Epiphany Jane Williams (IVP) $17.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60
The Art of Christmas: Meditations on the Birth of Jesus Jane Williams (IVP) $17.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60
We have touted and sold bunches of The Art of Advent in years past and it remains one of the best bargains you will find — excellent of often classic artwork explored and reflected upon by the great British art scholar (and wife of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.)
The new “Christmas” one that just came out this year is a bit shorter, but richly wonderful. The Art of Christmas is still 115 pages and excellently done.
Both are just thrilling to have, delightful in a profound way, a glory to know that people think up and make such fabulous books. Each are about 6 1/2 x 5 1/2, easy to mail, making great little gifts — not too weighty but impressive. Get a few of each, while supplies last.
Making Room in Advent: 25 Devotions for a Season of Wonder Bette Dickinson (IVP) $18.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40
With contemporary art on glossy paper, this is a very handsome little book, cool, a bit edgy, but very nice. I never like that formal font, and it doesn’t do the contemporary vision of the art much justice, in my view. But it does show that it has weight, gravitas, even if the point is pointing us towards joy. Bette Dickinson is described as a “prophetic artist” who has an artful ministry called “Awakening the Soul.” This hardback book helps us make room. Make room for what, you ask? Each of 25 reflections and art pieces will answer that with 25 different answers. This really is a tremendous book, one of the best of this year. You will love pondering it, I’m sure.
Terry Wildman — an indigenous leader who was the lead translator of the First Nations Version of the New Testament — says that Making Room in Advent is “a welcome contemplative offering birthed from her own experiences… offering artistic depth combined with theological breadth and personal applications.”
Listen to what the very wise Curt Thompson (Soul of Shame and Soul of Desire) writes:
If spaciousness for God and the flourishing He promises is what you desire, I cannot think of a better place to start.
Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way Joanna Harader with Michelle Burkholder (Herald Press) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99
Once again, Herald Press hits it out of the park with this fabulous resource, a handsome, full sized book loaded with both Biblical insight and contemporary application. It obviously is an Advent journey, a devotional inviting us through Advent and into Christmas with the women of Jesus’s family line. What a great idea!
Herald Press, which is a Mennonite publishing house, is one of the most fresh and interesting publishers these days bringing lively and provocative, Biblically faithful, progressive voices into the religious conversation. Harader is the pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kansas, and is known for creating moving, faithful, worship liturgies. (She has written in Christian Century and the “Shine” Sunday school curriculum.)
Michelle Burkholder is a pastor in Hyattsville, Maryland and offers illustrations and art design for this volume — something akin to linocuts, she does paper cuts which offer shapes and lines and abstract designs. It adds a very nice touch to the volume.
Besides the standard daily devotions, this book can be used as a guide to preaching and creating worship liturgies. They give readers a lot of tools to use this, from small groups and Sunday school to worship settings with sermon ideas and candle-lighting litanies. There is even a guide for an Advent retreat using this over the course of a few days. (I bet after individuals or small groups use it this year, there will be some who insist on pulling off an Advent retreat next year!)
Expecting Emmanuel is a treasure trove, solid, helpful, interesting. Highly recommended.
In prayers like poems and meditations that weave together the stories of women in the Bible with the lives of readers, Joanna Harader offers a gentle invitation: sit, wait, hold one, don’t give up. — Melissa Florer-Bixler, author of How to Have an Enemy
Three Wise Women: 40 Devotions Celebrating Advent with Mary, Elizabeth and Anna Dandy Daley Mackall (Paraclete Press) $18.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19
Paraclete Press is a premier publisher of ecumenical books with a liturgical and sacramental perspective; their Advent and Lenten books are not just staples for us, but true joys to promote. We stock almost everything they do and, in this case, we’re delighted for this lovely book by an author who is known for doing charming children’s books, YA stuff, and delightfully evangelical resources for Christian living. This may be her most sophisticated project yet and yet it carries her grace and insight. Writing from rural Ohio, she help us, as she says, “anticipate, celebrate, and marvel” at Jesus’s birth.
I suppose this is designed mostly for women readership, but you know us — we’d recommend it to anyone who needs this Biblical content, this encouragement, this bit of healthy calm, published in a handsome hardback. It has illustrations and even a ribbon marker, making it a very nice gift.
None other than New York Times bestselling novelist Bret Lot (who himself has guided many a writer with his Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, on Being a Christian) has a rave endorsement:
Dandi Mackall has done something important, and beautiful, and good, calling her readers to ponder anew this miraculous season when the gift of all gifts was bestowed upon us all, and to do so through the eyes of the blessed women involved. This is a wonderful book.
Brightest and Best: 31 Advent Devotions on Jesus Philippa Ruth Wilson (Christian Focus) $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39
Christian Focus is a conservative, often Reformed, evangelical publisher from Scotland and we appreciate their no-nonsense theology and their clarity about doctrine and salvation and holiness. Here, then, is a book like no other: it is about the comfort Advent could bring to those who are hurting. Philippa Ruth Wilson has written a lot about Jesus and depression at her blog “A Certain Brightness” (and has published a book of that name about her depression.) This rejects the “happiest time of the year” nonsense and yet communicates “joyful, uplifting, and glorious Christmas truths” to those who need encouragement.
As it says on the back cover, “in a world of poverty, prejudice, and sickness, it can be hard to sing tis the season to be jolly. Brightest and Best is a collection of advent devotions that point to the comfort God has promised in the coming of Jesus.”
Some readers may recall our fondness for the book by Amy Boucher Bye, a sharp thinker and deeply spiritual writer who not too long ago did 7 Ways to Pray: Time-Tested Practices for Encountering God. She has an endorsement here, saying:
Interweaving the wisdom and grace of her aptly termed Carolsville with the wonderous story of Jesus, Philippa Wilson in Brightest and Best sparks longing and love within us during the Advent and Christmas seasons. She welcomes us to share her deep love of the ‘little Lord Jesus’ – a mind-bending notion of the God who became Man. I commend it with joy.
By the way, if this is a topic dear to your heart, don’t miss others we’ve highlighted in past years such as the stellar 2022 WJK-published reflection, A Weary World: Reflections for a Blue by the excellent progressive activist and Denver pastor, Kathy Escobar, and the exquisite, art-filled, one-of-a-kind Wounded in Spirit by David Bannon (published by Paraclete.) Check those out, for sure.
Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Advent Devotional for the Whole Self Whitney Simpson (Upper Room Books) $17.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39
Okay, this really is a workbook sort of resource in a fine hardback with some contemporary full color art by artist Lauren Wright Pittman. Wow.
It is a four week devotional by an author who has written Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit which is informed by a contemplative perspective and vibrant yoga practice. (Some know her from her work at the Wild Goose Festival.) Simpson says that we literally sense Christ’s coming and she here invites us to embrace this, moving through a more intentionally embodied Advent. She works often in the spaces between inner peace and peacemaking, from breath prayer to justice activism, so she is very wholistic. I know this will appeal to some of our friends.
As they put it on the back cover, this is “an opportunity to prepare for God to come into our midst, to prepare for God to become human just like us.”
The chapters are entitled Slow Down and Hope, Simplify for Peace, Sit with Joy, and Savor God’s Love. The publisher explains, “Within each week are a rotation of daily practices including breath prayer, mindful movement, lectio divina, visio divina (which utilizes beautiful, colorful works of art each week), Christian meditation, creative contemplation, and practicing presence.” Theologian and mindfulness teacher Amy Oden calls it “a true Christmas gift.”
Heaven and Nature Sing: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World Hannah Anderson with illustrations by Nathan Anderson (B+H) $22.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $18.39
Some of our faithful readers recall how we were taking pre-orders and sending out bunches of Turning of Days: Lessons from Nature, Season, and Spirit, Hannah and Nathan’s splendid devotional guide to the outdoors, her gentle and creative writing of nature observations beside her designer husband’s lovely illustrations. Turning of Days was a good seller for us; we were proud to promote it and we talk about it, still. Hannah is a good writer and that was a particularly lovely book.
This new Advent one seems to carry the same care and tone, offering a nice rumination on the often overlooked things in the holiday weeks.
“What does it sound like when rocks, hills, floor, and plains echo his praise” they ask? And what would it mean for you to join the chorus? Isn’t that a million dollar question? If all creation sings, and we get to get in on it, what does that all mean?
She has a light touch and although informed by serious theology of the best sorts, this is a book designed to evoke joy and attention, wonder and awe, helping us see and hear.
It is a Scripturally-rooted book, a Biblical devotional, but it is the little things in the text that she notices (and in our own lives) that she captures as they point to the Babe in the straw. These 25 Advent readings look fabulous and I, for one, am going to savor them this season.
Gifts of Grace: 25 Advent Devotions Jared C. Wilson (The Good Book Company) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
I’ve appreciated this author for his deep commitment to the first things of the gospel, seen clearly in titles like Gospel Wakefulness (what a title, eh?) and Gospel Deeps (which was on the “excellencies of Jesus.”) But I also like that he is sort of whimsical at times, and has a big-picture worldview. I love, even for teens, his fun book called The Story of Everything: How You, Your Pets, and the Swiss Alps Fit Into God’s Plan for the World. He’s fun, but doesn’t mess around — he wants to draw us to the gospel of God’s grace, help us rely on Him, and set us free to see our story in God’s redemptive story, that all-of-life-redeemed hope of a new creation.
This brand new title just came and I am sure it is packed with gospel truths. One can hardly get more clear than the title: these are gifts of grace. I like that a thoughtful social critic like Daniel Darling says that Jared’s words will “speak to your soul and stir your imagination.” Let’s admit it, many of us need to return to simple gospel truths to prevent us from inhabiting this season in a way that is less awestruck and more wearied and weighed down. Maybe this will help.
The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent Scott James (B+H) $12.99 OUE SALE PRICE = $10.39
I like the look and feel of this trim-sized, smaller hardback with two color ink, lots of pull quotes or discussion questions of Bible texts (some on a single page) making this short and, while not “busy”, certainly with a lot going on, visually and otherwise. There’s a vivid forward by David Platt, author of the very Christ-centered, Radical that offer an evangelical vision of global mission as trumping the American dream.
There are twenty-five devotions that can be used by individuals or families, actually. He did a similar family devotional for Lent called The Risen One: Experiencing All of Jesus in Lent which many folks really liked. This one came out last year, but I think many missed it.
Be Ready: An Advent Devotional edited by Courtney Richards (Chalice Press) $3.99 NO SALE PRICE
This is a staple bound booklet, nicely done, by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) We enjoy stocking their annual Advent release each year as the writing is always upbeat and fresh, rooted in the ecumenical, mainline denomination vision. This year, this month long devotional (which can be used with Advent candles) helps fund their “Week of Compassion”, the relief and development mission fund of the Disciples. In keeping with their justice-seeking, compassionate work, many of the contributors work in multi-ethnic relief, refugee or housing ministries. Nice.
One Great Love: An Advent and Christmas Treasury of Readings, Poems, and Prayers (Paraclete Press) $21.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59
With what almost feels like a lightly padded cover, this is a lush and handsome volume full of great readings, from ancient hymns to modern poems, from Presidential speeches to classic fiction. You will find credited literature from the Bible to Louisa May Alcott, from O. Henry to Gerard Manley Hopkins. Alongside old favorites like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen you will find moderns like Nikki Grimes and Luci Shaw. There is plenty here for almost anyone — classic theology and seasonal poetry and a bit of joyful whimsy. All garnished with lovely art work, lots of it.
The art in One Great Love is a delightful hodgepodge, from icons to Linotype, from nature scenes to renaissance painters. It strikes a gorgeous balance with holly and ivy and nativity paintings and glorious art from across time and across the world. There are nifty little illustrations, wreaths and candles but they do not distract from the more serious art pieces. It’s a very lovely collection, a beautiful gift and a fabulous book to own and keep. Wonderful.
All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings Deluxe Gift Edition Gayle Boss, illustrations by David G. Klein (Paraclete Press) $24.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20
I trust you have seen our reviews here before of this marvelous, evocative, wintertime book. (And the Lenten one, on endangered species and the groaning of creation called Wild Hope: Stories of Lent from the Vanquishing.) We have highly recommended this Advent one for the vivid writing, the profound Biblical and theological worldview that hovers over the work, and the fabulous black and white illustrations — skillfully prepared woodcuts, actually — of animals as they prepare for winter rest. Who would have thought that a book about hibernation would yield such profound insights about the world’s darkness and the December season of Advent?
This one with a bright red hardback cover is a new edition (the regular paperback is still nicely available for $18.99, but at our sale price just $15.19.) For those that wanted a nice gift edition, this deluxe new one is, well, a gift. The cover is different, there is a ribbon marker, the print size a bit bigger and there are classy endpapers, giving this favorite a new energy and making it a real keepsake. Kudos to Paraclete.
Sleepers Wake: Getting Serious About Climate Change Nicholas Holtam (SPCK) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99
Not only is this as timely as ever (with the UN Climate conference going on this very week in Egypt) and urgently necessary, it is the Archbishop of York’s Advent Book of 2022. You didn’t know the Archbishop of York in the UK had an Advent Book of the Year, did you? Well, now you do. And it is an urgent one.
As the good Archbishop (Stephen Cottrell) himself puts it, this book is “shot through with hope.”
Further, it has some striking, classic artwork, full pages and in full color. It’s very cool, nicely done. My quick skim might suggest that it isn’t integrated deeply into the Advent theme and while it is arranged as a seasonal book for the time in the church calendar, it isn’t overtly such. So buy it now and you can even read it later. Nicely done.
The God of Amazing Gifts: Family Devotions for Advent Lizzie Laferton (The Good Book Company) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99
In other years we have sold well the family and seasonal devotionals published by this gospel-centered, solid, evangelical publishing house. They do impressive books and we’re happy to announce this one, a “wonderful and fresh” devotional that, as one parent put it, “will keep on giving far beyond Christmas.”
It has 25 devotions that can be used during Advent or spread out before or after Christmas.
Helpfully it has different questions routes for different aged children from 7 – 14+, and a variety of suggestions for application. There are some extra ideas in the back, too, for further family activities and deeper conversations. It might be the thing to help your family dig just a bit deeper this season.
One reviewer says of it, “Thought provoking, awe-inspiring, and Jesus-magnifying, this is a brilliant resource.”
Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always Ruth Chou Simons (Harvest House) $29.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99
Ruth Chou Simons has an amazing following these days and her watercolors and calligraphy has become her signature art, as in popular books like GraceLaced and Beholding and Becoming. She is sharp and deeply committed to the Word of God and its reforming influence on our lives. This new one, too, is fully illustrated, a lovely and striking hardback laden with soft colors and wondrous tones, floral prints, leaves, branches… on every page!
As they say on the back slip, “If there is one name for Jesus that captures the whole heart of God, it is Emmanuel — God with us. No other name similarly expresses the fullness of God’s eternal desire for His image-bearers. He’s always wanted us to be with Him.”
As Ms Simons notes, Christmas Day is not the end of our celebrations but the beginning! Emmanuel is an invitation to rejoice in “the everlasting fellowship and hope God extended to us on the day of His Son’s birth, guiding us to realize that having God with us all year long is Christmas’s most incredible gift.”
Prophets & Promises: Devotions for Advent and Christmas 2022 – 2023 Richard Bruesehoff, Laura Hock, Lydia Posselt, Harvard Stephens and Troy Troftgruben (Augsburg Fortress) $3.00 SORRY, NO DISCOUNT ON THIS ITEM
This is a tiny book, full color with nice photographs for each day alongside the typical Bible verse, short reading and closing prayer. These authors include pastors and spiritual directors, evangelists and a musician and a New Testament prof at Wartburg Seminary (in Iowa.) I love the title, I love the look — the quotes that the authors occasionally use and the authors they draw from are indigenous, people of color, artsy (from Anne Lamott to Zora Neale Hurston.) There are liturgical theologians, sacramental thinkers and contemporary prophets like Braiding Sweetgrass’s Robin Wall Kimmerer. Short and sweet, we thought you might like it.
Leave it to the Lutherans to produce a beautifully attractive, upbeat-looking, full color pocket size devotional and is so inexpensive. While supplies last.
Families Celebrate 2022-2023 Advent and Christmas deck of cards (Augsburg Fortress) $9.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $7.99
Give new meaning to the phrase “Christmas cards” by using these (small) cards to do family devotions. As they promise on the back, each card features a ritual, prayer, reflection, or activity. For families with kids ages 3 -13. Cards are dated for use each day from the first Sunday of Advent to the Day of Epiphany (January 6, 2023.) Of course, you could use or re-use them. These are really cute and feature full color art on 56 cards. While supplies last…
Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Malcolm Guite (SPCK) $15.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79
We’ve featured this nearly every year since we discovered it several years back and we are glad for his rich and thoughtful poems. It’s fabulous, rich, and “helps us fathom the depths and inhabit the tensions of Advent’s many paradoxes.” We stock almost all of Guite’s amazing volumes (including a lovely little book that explains how he relates faith and literature called The Word Within the Words (Fortress; $12.75.) Still, we are especially fond of his Advent/Christmas one.
God Speaks Through Wombs: Poems on God’s Unexpected Coming Drew Jackson (IVP) $16.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80
We raved about this last year and wanted to share it again. Drew is a black pastor in New York who created and refined these hip-hop infused poems during Covid, informed by the realities of being a person of color in recent years. They are similar — if not in style, in approach — to Guite and others who have done overtly Biblical poetry. Here he walks us through the book of Luke (the first poem is “Theophilus (Lover of God)” while the last is inspired by a healing miracle in Luke 8. So, yes, there is some Advent, Nativity, and other seasonal themes here, at least in the first batch. There are nearly 100 poems (and a great, great forward by Grammy-winner, Jon Batiste.) Jackson carries on the project, by the way, in a book we’re taking pre-orders for which will be released early January 2023 called Touch the Earth: Poems on the Way. It, by the way, has a foreword by Padraig O Tuama. I’m telling you, Drew is one to watch.
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Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street Dallastown PA 17313
No, Covid is not over. Since nobody is reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables. And it’s still bad. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise.
Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild Covid infections.
We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are happy to help.
Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. Just tell us how you want them sent.
We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST / Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.