Advent Luxe 2020

Resources for Reading, Worship, Growth, and Devotion

Jonathan Simcoe
6 min readDec 11, 2020

This year I partnered with Crossway¹ to bring together some items that I wanted to recommend as Christmas gifts and as fodder for spiritual growth and discipleship as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 looms on the horizon. I think it’s important to hold on to what is good in the midst of a turbulent year that has introduced a pandemic, weathered civil unrest, raging fires, a tense political election, and continued ideology divide and unrest.

Through it all, Christ is deeper still.


This beautifully-adorned and bound compilation by Nancy Guthrie is the perfect way to bring focused attention to the essence of Christmas with Advent devotionals from a variety of historic and contemporary sources. The breadth of this little volume is impressive, as is the attention to detail with the cover and ribbon design.


Studying Scripture is an ancient Christian practice. Crossway has two beautiful reading editions that have matching fit and finish, with two different trajectories.

The ESV Thinline Bible, Top-Grain Leather is a wonderful, compact edition that is perfect to carry on the go. Made of durable leather it is built to weather the storms of daily readings on the go.

The ESV Wide Margin Reference edition (also in Top-Grain Leather) has more opaque paper and ample margins for deeper study, consideration, and engagement with the Biblical text.

Both are built to last, and both pair together for reading and study.

Unfolding Grace

Crossway has created a unique product in Unfolding Grace (introductions and study guide by Drew Hunter). It pairs selecting readings from the ESV Bible text with short introductions and exquisite illustrations from Peter Voth:

The result is a guided reading experience that introduces the sweeping narrative arc of Scripture to highlight the way God’s grace unfolds at each turn. The Study Guide has short expansions of thought for each reading with focused questions to add richness and personal encounter to the experience. Unfolding Grace builds on the novel way that editions like Bibliotheca and He/She Reads Truth craft a thoughtful new Bible reading experience.

Short Classics

Crossway has introduced a new series dubbed Crossway Short Classics. The goal is to produce beautiful compact editions of short Christian treatises with a contemporary introduction to the text and its weight. This pairing of introduction and historical context paired with the texts themselves make this a compelling series to pay attention to. They are the perfect size to fit in a stocking or combine together as a small gift, elevating the weight of small, incisive Christian works for a new generation.


Lastly, two works by Paul David Tripp. There is a vacuum of leadership in our post-Christian culture and we can observe its effects at nearly every level of civic, political, personal, and church life. As a balm, Paul Tripp offers two critical works.

While Lead is focused on Gospel principles applied to church leadership, the lessons he draws are applicable more broadly as it relates to how to lead people and grow character, candor, limits, and servanthood. I think this is needed today whether you lead your family, colleagues/employees, or at any level in the local or global church. He does this through 12 principles:

Parenting is to put it simply: the best parenting resource I’ve ever found. I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve recommended it to people. Here Tripp avoids the trap of trying to prescribe parenting tactics and tools for different situations, ages, and personalities (which are endless). Instead he allows the Gospel to be a lens into our own hearts as parents in order to shape how we show up (with grace) to the kids that we are responsible for shepherding into Christ’s love. His insights are personal, deep, and saturated in Scripture and a firm grasp on the daily need for God’s grace in the everyday moments of parenting. It is a fantastic resource for parents (or grandparents) of any age or phase of parenting.

¹Crossway sent me most of these items to review solely at my request. I only recommend resources that I stand behind and I did not receive any compensation for including them in this article.