(This two-part post began yesterday, with part 1 of my preview of Advent resources. Read that one and this, and perhaps you will find things to help you enter more deeply into this season. Blessings to all! And if you have any books, practices, or rituals of Advent that you would like to share, please let me know. I’d love to have you post them, or I can post them for you!)
Advent is a time of holy waiting, a kind of patience that we are unused to in our lives. Every year I try to enter into the season with an intentional and prayerful presence.
As I said yesterday, if there has been one thing that has both helped and hampered my Advent practices, it is working at Church! Well, hurt is too strong a word, but I can assure you that a parish office in December is many things, but a place of Holy Waiting is not necessarily one of them!
Yet, I have my morning prayer practice and during Advent I use a booklet to help guide my way. Today I will review two and then I will review two more. I hope that you find these mini-reviews useful.
It just works out that I have four books. Yesterday I reviewed two books from Ave Maria Press. Today I review two books from Liturgical Press.
Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas by Jay Cormier (106 pp, $2.00) is the current copy a book that I have used before. Like some of the others, this is sized “to go,” fitting in your bag or pocket. I like the portability myself!
This book does what others may not – it goes from the beginning of Advent all the way through to the Baptism of the Lord. For that reason alone, I love the book, but there are other reasons.
Each day offers a readings, scripture, reflection, meditation, and prayer elements. They are all short, but never short on wisdom. This is an excellent little book to have with you as you journey down the patient path of Advent and I recommend it.
The second volume I put forth today is very different than the other books. A Time of Fulfillment, Spiritual Reflections for Advent and Christmas by Anselm Grün, OSB (144 pp, $14.95).
This is a book that will demand more of your time and attention. No, I’m not talking about War and Peace style demands, but this book is markedly different than the other three. This is a book that you will hold onto for future Advents.
The first half of the book is formed around one of my very favorite Advent rituals, the O Antiphons. Gathering insights around song and spirit, There are also suggestions for further reflection at the end of each chapter, which I loved. Overall, I found myself literally sinking into the words of each page. Ahhhh… a warm bath of wisdom to soak in. Short, but so meaningful, each section nourished my heart and spirit.
The second portion of the book brings us into and through the season of Christmas that follows the Birth of the Lord. Anchoring each chapter in the Gospel, as well as two chapters on Pauline letters, rich exegetical wisdom is found on each and every page. The final chapter, perhaps the finest gift of this book, is about the mystery of Christmas.
The author’s monastic spirituality is made explicitly clear in the pages of this book, and that alone is worth the read. I really can’t rate this book highly enough! Yes, I highly, highly recommended it, to be used in conjunction with one of the other books, which are more focused on daily reflection.
My prayers and blessings to you for a good Advent ahead. Please feel free to share your own practices with us; contact me if you would like to see them posted. It would be great to publish them here on the blog!