For children and families

Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2020-2021

The 2020-2021 edition of Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas cards spans the four weeks of Advent and the 12 days of Christmas through Epiphany. The 56 cards in each deck offer richly illustrated images (by Valeria Cis) on one side and ideas for rituals, prayers and activities on the other. These cards make a great gift for families seeking to slow down and stay faith-focused during the busy weeks of the Advent and Christmas seasons. The cards can be strung and hung to make a decorative garland (Augsburg Fortress, 2020).

The Birth of Jesus Advent Calendar and Nativity Scene

The story of Jesus’ birth leaps to life with this imaginative offering created by world-renowned paper artist Agostino Traini. The Birth of Jesus Advent Calendar and Nativity Scene includes 25 playfully drawn figures in this reusable set. Children place one form on the diorama board each day (Beaming Books, 2019).

The Birth of Jesus: A Christmas Pop-up Book

The award-winning The Birth of Jesus: A Christmas Pop-up Book tells the story of Jesus’ birth using Traini’s whimsical illustrations with each turn of the page. Kids and their grown-ups will love the wide-eyed people, playful animals and colorful scenery on each spread (Beaming Books, 2016).

The Story of Christmas: A Spark Bible Story

Families who enjoy the Spark Story Bible will love these two Christmas resources. The Story of Christmas: A Spark Bible Story is a picture book by Martina Smith, packed with Spark Story Bible illustrations by Peter Grosshauser and Ed Temple that tell the beloved story of Christmas (Sparkhouse Family, 2015). The whole family will enjoy watching The Story of Christmas: Spark Story Bible Adventures, a 30-minute DVD featuring Squiggles the caterpillar. Bonus DVD features include four music videos along with narration and captioning in Spanish (Sparkhouse Family, 2016). This release is also available to rent on Amazon Prime.

Countdown to Christmas

Even with Advent plans in place, waiting for Christmas can be challenging for kids. Countdown to Christmas can help. Families read an entry for each day from Dec. 1 to Christmas Day. As they read the Bible, pray and enjoy activities together, the days before Christmas can become holy time. Written by bestselling author Mary Manz Simon and illustrated by Brian Hartley, this board book can help families of little ones start new traditions to prepare for the birth of Jesus (Beaming Books, 2019).

For adults

 Martin Luther’s Christmas Book

This anniversary edition of Martin Luther’s Christmas Book (Augsburg Fortress, 2017) includes a collection of seven sermons by Luther (with accompanying woodcuts): “Annunciation,” “Visitation,” “Nativity,” “Shepherds,” “Herod,” “Wise Men” and “Presentation.” The final chapter, titled “From Heaven High,” is a carol Luther composed for children. Editor Roland H. Bainton introduces Luther’s views on the birth of Jesus: “The human rather than the miraculous aspects of the story interested him. … [Luther] was simply amazed that all the characters in the Christmas story were themselves able to believe.”

Augsburg Fortress Advent devotionals 

Dawn Rundman
Dawn Rundman is director of faith formation resource development at 1517 Media and assistant director of ELCA relations for Augsburg Fortress. She lives in Edina, Minn.

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