For children and families

Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 deck of 56 Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas cards spans the four weeks of Advent, starting on Nov. 28, and the 12 days of Christmas, through Epiphany on Jan. 6. Each card features an illustration on one side and a family activity prompt on the other. New this year are suggestions for using prayers and songs from All Creation Sings, the liturgy and song supplement to Evangelical Lutheran Worship published in 2020 (Augsburg Fortress, 2021).

A Simple Christmas on the Farm

Searching for a children’s book that reinforces the beauty of slowing down at Christmas? Look no further than A Simple Christmas on the Farm, written by Phyllis Alsdurf and illustrated by Lisa Hunt. At first, the child narrator feels concerned when her parents announce their streamlined Christmas plans. No store-bought presents? No big tree? But soon she wholeheartedly prepares for the Christmas Day celebration that brings friends and neighbors to their little red barn for a day of friendship and fun. Simple gift ideas are included (Beaming Books, 2021).

The Animals Speak

Illustrated in rich, deep colors by Brittany Baugus, The Animals Speak: A Christmas Eve Legend by Marion Dane Bauer gives voice to the familiar four-legged friends of the Christmas story—donkey, sheep, camel, cow. But they are joined by a host of unexpected animals—elephant, bear, penguin, whale—in greeting baby Jesus with shouts of “He is here! Welcome! Rejoice!” The poetic rhythms of this read-aloud story will delight children and their grown-ups as all God’s creatures welcome the Savior (Beaming Books, 2021).

Squirrel’s Sweater

Squirrel tries on the sweater her grandma knit for her, but it’s just too small! She visits Doe, Bear and Porcupine to ask for help and remembers her Granny Gray along the way. When these forest friends finally meet at the Winter Warmup, Squirrel learns how to carry her sweater in a just-right way. Delightful illustrations by Jennie Poh invite the listener to notice new details with each reading of Laura Renauld’s charming wintertime story, which models how we can remember our loved ones in tactile ways (Beaming Books, 2021).

God With Us

Based on Manna and Mercy by Daniel Erlander, God With Us: A Manna and Mercy Christmas Board Book celebrates Jesus’ birth and the many ways God is with us. Little ones will love looking for the two prairie dogs from Manna and Mercy and their charming commentary. Author Mary C. Lindberg’s text is paired with Erlander’s distinctive illustrations, rendered in vibrant full color on the sturdy pages (Augsburg Fortress, 2021).

For adults

Dimming the Day

The Advent season calls us to counter the Christmas rush by sitting down, slowing down and preparing for the birth of Jesus. An ideal book to help with this call to calm is Dimming the Day: Evening Meditations for Quiet Wonder by Jennifer Grant. Its pages offer release and respite from the anxieties that can plague us at night, often in the glowing form of a screen. Grant helps us experience awe instead with chapters that invite us to consider dandelions and hummingbirds, ginkgos and redwoods (Broadleaf Books, 2021).

Heaven and Nature Sing

Heaven and Nature Sing: Devotions for Advent & Christmas 2021-2022 is a full-color devotional with lectionary readings from the first Sunday in Advent to the Day of Epiphany. A large-print edition is available (Augsburg Fortress, 2021).

Bread for the Day

Bread for the Day: Daily Bible Readings and Prayers, Year C 2022 provides a range of devotional readings for your faithful journey through the year: prayers, seasonal introductions, household blessings and more. Gift this to a small group at church, a prayer partner or anyone looking for a range of ideas to enrich their spiritual life in the new year (Augsburg Fortress, 2021).

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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