Yesterday marked the beginning of a new church year—and the beginning of the season of Advent. For the next few weeks, the Church will be preparing to celebrate the mystery of Incarnation.

Here are a few resources to help make your Advent preparations more mindful and more meaningful.

First, a Jesse Tree devotional, written by yours truly and illustrated by 40 different artists, ages 3 to 83, from Bethany Presbyterian Church. There’s a devotion for each day of Advent and Christmas (and a few extra, since Advent can begin as early as November 27). Don’t forget to grab the ornaments, so you can decorate your own Jesse Tree.

Second, Christine Sine is hosting an Advent series over on Godspace. Each day, she’ll post a reflection from a different writer on the theme Coming Home: Finding our Roots in the Christmas Story. To kick off the series, she’s posted a meditative video, featuring the beautiful music of Jeff Johnson, which you can watch on Godspace.

Third, if you’re looking for good books to read with your littles this season, to help all of you prepare your hearts for Christmas, here’s a list of a few of our family’s favorites.

And finally, please read this beautiful post by Lanier Ivester, a paean of praise sparked by the flight of sandhill cranes. If you only read one Advent meditation this season, let it be this one. I read it three or four times last December, and every time, it quickened my heart with joy and longing, thickened my throat with tears even as I whispered a broken, heartfelt Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

A blessed Advent to you all. May you pause in the midst of the holiday preparations to watch the beauty and glory of ordinary life unfold—the life that God the Son came to share.