I love traditions.
I also resist traditions which begat high expectations in others and internal pressure in myself.
Throughout the years, our Reformation Day celebration has looked different, year to year. Sometimes we’ve had a Reformation month. For the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church, in 2017 we had a whole Reformation year.
As I share some of our traditions, ideas, and resources let them inspire you and encourage you — but with no expectations or pressures. Enjoy the fun, use the time as a catalyst for learning more about your faith and history. Remember that following the traditions of men and trying to measure up is the opposite of what we love about the Reformation!
Delving deeper in to the whys of observing Reformation Day is in another post. This is simply a list of my favorite resources. (Amazon links are affiliate links, as you might guess. Everything linked is something we own or have used in our family.)
Men of the Holidays: An Inspirational Look at the Lives of St. Valentine, St. Patrick, Martin Luther, Squanto, and St. Nicholas: As you can tell from the title, we use this book several times throughout the year. Along with a story of each man of faith and God’s providence, each chapter includes a recommendation for Bible memory and discussion of a core theological concept. My children, like most, love revisiting the same stories year after year.
The Christian Biographies for Young Readers series by Simonetta Carr is beautiful — beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, and beautifully communicating people of Christian history. While of course you’ll want the book about Martin Luther, we are slowly collecting all of them. Last year I surprised the kids with a Reformation Day gift — the biographies of Lady Jane Grey for my daughter and John Knox for my youngest son. They are published by Reformation Heritage Books (one of our faves!) and various titles frequently go on sale.
Along with Simonetta Carr’s biography of Martin Luther, for middle/high school students, we like When Lightening Struck! by Danika Cooley. (Check out her Thinking Kids Press website for tons of great free resources for discipling your kids, as well as the great Bible Road Trip curriculum.) For adults my favorite is the classic Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton — personally, I prefer it as an audio book.
Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer is great for a family movie night. It is produced by Ligonier Ministries, which also provides a free study guide (which we haven’t used with the kids, but I could imagine using with a small group.) While you can buy it from them directly or stream from Amazon at any time during the year, they often provide for free streaming during October.
I listen to a lot of podcasts these days — often with the kids. The Life and Times of Martin Luther, produced by a lay-historian/theologian Steve, is phenomenal. Though it hasn’t been updated recently, it is worth listening to all of the back episodes. Ligonier Ministries has a new high-concept podcast, Luther: In Real Time. Each episode is released 500 years to the day after key events in Martin Luther’s life and ministry.
There are so many more that we have loved! I’ll come back and add to this when I don’t have little ones who are calling me.