A Multisensory Devotional – Ordering Our Affections: Advent

“Jesus is not Santa Claus. You don’t need to bring Him a list of everything wrong in your life. He knows. Rest in Him. Trust Him.”
Dr. Melissa McCrory Hatcher, Ordering Our Affections: Advent

A Different Advent Devotional

I know Advent is almost over, but note this for next year: Ordering Our Affections: Advent is a compact, multisensory Advent devotional that is different than most others. I’m finding the distinctions quite refreshing.

It’s less about giving you words to read, and more about directly experiencing truths with God. Through scripture and prayer. Through art. Through music and poetry.


I met the author, Dr. Melissa McCrory Hatcher and her husband Josh at this silent Centering Prayer Retreat a couple years ago. Even though we weren’t able to talk directly to each other until the last day at lunch, I felt a connection with them, and correctly guessed that Melissa was pregnant, after experiencing a horrendous and unexpected loss of their sweet little 3-year-old son.

I’ve since learned more that Melissa is a tenacious and intelligent and gentle woman. Her devotion to God and family come through in this book. Even though her words are few, her faith is strongly evident through the exercises she provides us.

The Order

In Ordering Our Affections, Melissa provides this order for each day of Advent:

  • Silence
  • Scripture to read aloud
  • Blank space for reflection
  • Meditation suggestion on a specific hymn or painting or poem or activity
  • Prayer in response
  • Silence

The book is great for your own quiet time but it can also be done with children.

It doesn’t take long to do the devotional each day. But by putting more of yourself into it—more than just reading a set of words—you get more out of it.

As Melissa says, this ordering of our affections (instead of ordering more stuff) helps us “to prioritize the true, the good, and the beautiful.”

I’ll return to it again and again for future Advents.

* * *

You can buy the book here.

Do you have a favorite Advent devotional you have used? Please share in the comments.

10 thoughts on “A Multisensory Devotional – Ordering Our Affections: Advent

  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thank you for the suggestion, Lisa. Sounds lovely, and I so believe we must see and put beauty back into our lives.

    I LOVE Anglican poet Malcolm Guite’s Waiting on the Word, which combines a poem a day during Advent and Epiphany, along with Guite’s rich commentary. He’s well-versed (no pun intended! :)) in all manner of poetry and in the commentary, alludes to other poetry while describing and explaining the one at hand. He himself is a marvelous poet. Here is the book: https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Word-Advent-Christmas-Epiphany/dp/1848258003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514040085&sr=8-1&keywords=waiting+on+the+word
    Also, his Word in the Wilderness is perfect for Lent and uses a similar format (you can get that now and be ready. 🙂 ): https://www.amazon.com/Word-Wilderness-Malcolm-Guite/dp/1848256787/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514040225&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=word+in+the+wilnderness
    I also love poets/novelist Luci Shaw and Madeleine L’Engle’s Winter Song, a combination of poetry and lyrical prose, geared to Advent, Christmas, and the New Year: https://www.amazon.com/WINTER-SONG-CHRISTMAS-Hardcover-Publishers/dp/B001LEN2X6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514040327&sr=1-1&keywords=winter+song+luci+shaw
    You likely can still get it used. I don’t know if they ever published a paperback edition. And Kris Camealy’s Come, Lord Jesus is lovely too: https://www.amazon.com/Come-Lord-Jesus-Weight-Waiting/dp/1536951285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514040391&sr=1-1&keywords=come+lord+jesus

    Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for this great list of resources, Lynn! It’s always valuable to hear what is good from a friend. I also appreciate the Lent tips. Now is a great time to gather what we want to be reading then. May you have a blessed Christmas too!

  2. June

    This sounds perfect, Lisa! I’ve bookmarked it for next year! I didn’t do a devotional this year, rather I used the scripture advent (which I shared on my blog) as my devotion each day. There are so many good advent devotionals out there! It’s hard to choose. I’m so glad this one blessed you this year. Happy Saturday before Christmas 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, sometimes there are so many to choose from that I find it hard to just pick one and go. ha. Your scripture advent was a wonderful way to do it (plus with such beautiful photos!). I appreciate you sharing that so freely, June.

      I can’t believe it’s already December 23! I finished wrapping presents yesterday in a two-day frenzy so now I can relax and enjoy the festivities. 🙂 Hope you’re ready too!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, sometimes the less words, the better. After I read this morning’s scriptures, I listened to “For Unto Us Is Born” from Handel’s Messiah and looked at Rembrandt’s “The Nativity.” Both were incredibly moving.

      And doubly agree: out of great suffering can often arise great wisdom.

  3. Jean Wise

    This book sounds wonderful and I put it on my list for next year. You always find great books! The title interested me too: I just read the other day, the definition of sin was disordered attachments. Similar to Ordered Affections… You know when something appears multiple times, God is calling our attention to it. I need to pay attention. LOL Merry Christmas, dear blogging friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How interesting to read that definition of sin as disordered attachments! that really hits home with this book. I need to pay attention as well. 😉 Happy New Year, Jean!

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