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’Tis the season

Family devotionals for advent 

’Tis the season
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The 25 Days of Christmas

James Merritt

Merritt’s The 25 Days of Christmas is A Family Devotional to Help You Celebrate Jesus. This beautiful, cloth-wrapped edition gives families a guide for treasuring the season by redirecting them away from the holiday commercialization and to the miraculous details of Jesus’ birth. The devotional opens with the first mention of the Christmas story in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) and ends on the 25th day with reflections on the cross. Each daily reading concludes with an activity to help families ponder and apply the lesson as they anticipate the arrival of Christmas. A worthy addition to the Advent library. (Ages 8 & up)

A Jesus Christmas

Barbara Reaoch

Reaoch’s devotional offers a way for families to Explore God’s Amazing Plan for Christmas. She writes, “Christmas tells us that Jesus is God’s ‘YES’ to all of his promises. When God came out of heaven, in Jesus, he proved that all of his promises are true.” As the book leads families from the Old Testament into the New, the daily readings explore a Scripture passage, explain what it means, engage children in discussion, and conclude by entering into prayer. Families with children of diverse ages will appreciate the options for age-appropriate questions and journaling space at the end of each devotion. (Ages 5-12)

The Way to the Manger

Jeff & Abbey Land

In The Way to the Manger the Lands encourage parents not to squelch their children’s Christmas excitement but instead enhance it through observing the Advent season together. They center each week of devotions around the key ideas of hope, love, joy, and peace. Intermingled among the readings are discussion prompts, questions to dig deeper into Scripture, and space to record Christmas memories. At the end of the first, second, and third weeks, the authors offer suggestions for activities families can do together, including service projects, snack time, and holiday outings. Vibrant mixed media illustrations will appeal to children. (Ages 4-10)

Jotham’s Journey

Arnold Ytreeide

In Jotham’s Journey Ytreeide uses narrative as a tool to help families more deeply explore Advent themes. The plot follows shepherd boy Jotham as he embarks on a harrowing journey to find his family. Along the way he encounters key characters in the Christmas story and learns the importance of obedience. Ytreeide incorporates Scripture and a short devotional at the conclusion of each day’s reading that connects Jotham’s unfolding story to Biblical themes. Note to parents: Some portions of the story depict violence that may be too intense for young or sensitive children. (Ages 10 & up)

John Hendrix


In Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014), John Hendrix tells the true story of how German and Allied soldiers laid aside their weapons and came out of the trenches to sing songs, exchange gifts, and celebrate the holiday in peace. Hendrix’s fictionalized account of the World War I truce, based on letters and interviews with soldiers who were there that day, captures the miracle of the historic moment: “Perhaps an angel of the Lord was among us today—what else could create such spontaneous peace but the hand of God himself?”

Hendrix, whose graphic novel The Faithful Spy was WORLD’s 2019 Children’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, illustrated Shooting at the Stars with gripping graphite, acrylic, and gouache drawings. Additional information in the prologue and endnotes will help elementary schoolchildren ponder the greater context of the story. —K.C.

Kristin Chapman

Kristin is the children's book page editor and an editorial assistant for WORLD Magazine. She graduated from two World Journalism Institutes, including one in Asheville and one in Austin. Kristin resides with her husband, Jarrett, and their three children in New Castle, Pa.


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