Countdown to Christmas with Zondervan Kids

With the holiday season comes a myriad of Christmas traditions. Some have been passed down through the family over the decades and others start with a fresh idea from someone. If you have children or grandchildren, we love the idea of counting down the Christmas season by reading a book each evening. They can be some of the classics or these are some of the new Christmas-themed books out this year. Whether you gather around the fireplace or snuggle in bed, reading the stories provides a platform to have discussions as a family as to the real meaning of Christmas. Here are just some of the latest examples.


 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37


  1. A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit

New York Times bestselling illustrator Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy—a delightful picture book that celebrates the season and tells the story of the nativity through the performance of the children’s Christmas pageant.

 Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.00.55 PM

  1. Christmas Love Letters from God By Glenys Nellist

Christmas Love Letters from God is a whimsical collection of seven beloved Bible stories that focus on the birth of Jesus and include love letters from God written especially for the young reader.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.03 PM

  1. Goodnight Manger (board book edition)

by: Laura Sassi

Goodnight, Manger, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to get Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. Told in gentle, lulling rhyme, Goodnight, Manger is an adorable and tender bedtime story, for Christmas or any time of year.

 Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.08 PM

  1. The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel by Mike Berenstain

In this newest Berenstain Bears Living Lights book, Brother, Sister, and Honey are in a hurry to get out into snow-covered Bear Country to build a snowbear. But when Honey gets bored and makes a snow angel, Brother and Sister have a better idea! The cubs make a Christmas Angel, and get a little lesson about God’s angels from Mama and Papa Bear.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.16 PM

  1. The Berenstain Bears Christmas Fun Sticker & Activity Book

by: Jan & Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears come to life with puzzles, activity pages, and stickers in the newest Berenstain Bears sticker and activity book—The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Fun Sticker and Activity Book. Celebrate Christmas fun with the Bear family and their Bear Country friends and neighbors.

 Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.22 PM

  1. Ready, Set, Find Christmas!

Mary and Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem on Christmas night, and they need your help to find many different things along the way! Read the classic story of Jesus’ birth in Ready, Set, Find: Christmas Story, an engaging look-and-find book for young children.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.27 PM

  1. A Royal Christmas to Remember by: Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson

With the arrival of the most spectacular winter season in years and Christmas only a night away, Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope find themselves in the midst of a dramatic scene that includes bandits, a rescue, and a royal Christmas celebration of family and God’s love.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 11.01.34 PM

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. ”Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4



Risen Reflections

Share a gift of meaning. Whether it is your child, a friend or a neighbor, consider giving a gift with meaning. This can be a book, DVD or ornament. Take time and have your child or you write a note to personalize the gift. Use it as a platform for a conversation about the meaning of Christmas and what it means to you.


Invite a family to church. Pray and ask God who he wants you to invite to church this Christmas season. It can be a neighbor, one of your child’s classmates or a co-worker’s family. Many churches have family outreaches or services with activities geared for all ages. Even if one family turns you down, keep praying about who else you can invite. If the entire family isn’t able to come, offer to bring their children to church with you. God wants to use this season when many people’s hearts are open to bring people into a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.


Take time to read and pray together as a family. Whether it is a Christmas-themed book or devotional, take time to slow down and read as a family. Use the books and devotionals as a platform to discuss the biblical principles that are present. Pray together. Pray for family members and friends who do not know Christ to come to experience the true meaning of Christmas this year. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in conversati

Parenting During the Pandemic: Biblical Tips for Families

We’ve been pandemic parents for a while now, and moms are not alone in feeling the depths of their inabilities;…

Read More

Parenting: Control the Controllable During COVID

Risen Magazine: Parents are overwhelmed, especially now with the current state of the world from pandemic, to homeschooling, black lives…

Read More

From the Track & Field to the Television: Meet Two-Time Olympians Jamie and Shevon Nieto

They may both be extremely talented, athletic and two-time Olympians but ironically it wasn’t Track & Field that brought Jamie…

Read More


Race Driving and Dog Casting: Q5 with Director Simon Curtis

Risen Magazine: The book spent three and half years on the New York Times bestseller list. When did you read…

Read More

End of Year Giving!

Most people want to be intentional in year-end charitable giving especially during the Christmas season – but aren’t sure of…

Read More
MLS Soccer Goalkeeper Tim Howard in front of the goal. Photograph by Brad Smith

Road to Rio: U.S. Men’s Soccer Goalie Tim Howard on Faith and Prayer

As countries send their teams to compete at the Olympics, many fans will be watching the soccer games. Afterall “football”…

Read More

Counting Down to Christmas with One Night

Since the 1800s, people have used Advent calendars to count down to Christmas. German Lutherans were amongst the first to…

Read More