Even though Thanksgiving is still days away, I’ve had a bunch of Christmas items sitting on my desk for a while.
Here’s a glance at some of them.
“Come and Behold Him,” by Brian Simmons, is a new four-week Advent devotional.
Readings are very concise. Including introduction and ending materials, the book is only 104 pages.
It uses the Passion translation as its Bible source.
The book is divided into five readings a week, each week based on traditional Advent themes: hope, peace, joy, love.
Each week’s Scriptures pull from either the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of Luke and Psalms.
Each Scripture is printed with the reading, so there is no need for a separate Bible.
The readings share items that are well-known from culture, such as first lines of books, or from life in general. These set up a connection to the story of the bit of Scripture being told.
Then each day ends with a short prayer.
In addition to the four weeks of devotionals, a special Christmas Eve one is included.
The book includes a few lined pages at the back for notes. Perhaps a family could use these to keep track of who was a part of the group who read this each year or some other special activity they did with the devotional.
Many families have a favorite Christmas album that gets thrown on the sound system as soon as possible in the season.
Other families buy new albums each year.
If you’re looking for that special album, Chris Tomlin is one of the large names in Christian music with a new Christmas project, but there are many others.
Paul Baloche, another worship leader, has two albums of holiday music, simply named “Christmas Worship” and “Christmas Worship Vol. 2.”
Both albums deliver just that: standard praise and worship style versions of Christmas carols and of modern pieces.
One of the newer pieces is Baloche’s song “Your Name,” which has been recorded by Philips, Craig and Dean. Baloche reworked his song into a Christmas version.
He also follows the lead of people like Tomlin and adds to the traditional pieces. For instance “Joy to the World” has “Shout for Joy” added to it. The added chorus says “Shout for joy, for the Son of God is the saving one. Shout for joy, see what love has done. He has come for us.”
Several guests, including Kathryn Scott, All Sons and Daughters, and Aaron Shust join Baloche on the project.
For a more pop sound, American Idol’s Danny Gokey has released “Christmas is Here.”
This album is streaming at https://www.yahoo.com/music/hear-it-first-danny-gokey-premieres-christmas-164744183.html.
It has Christmas standards on it including “Mary, Did You Know” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
He ends it with a version of “Give Me Jesus,” a song very familiar to Jeremy Camp fans.
And if you prefer, there are several chances for live concerts in December, including one with Danny Gokey.
The K-Love Christmas tour will be in Baton Rouge at Bethany Church in Baker at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18.
Featured artists are Tenth Avenue North, Natalie Grant and Sidewalk Prophets.
Gokey is a special guest.
For people willing to travel a couple of hours, Steven Curtis Chapman will perform his “Joy: the Christmas Tour” concert on Thursday, Dec. 10, at Calvary Baptist in Alexandria.
Joining him as special guest is his daughter-in-law, Jillian Edwards.
The night will have songs from Chapman’s “Joy” album as well as his previous three Christmas albums.