Book review and other matters

imagesWell, not really. Just book reviews!

Yes, hi – I’m here. Trying to blog, but not being very consistent about it, am I? Part of the reason for any regular posting is that I have been reading a lot more lately. Ahhh, it has been lovely. 5 years of graduate school and all kinds of other distractions, such as social media, redirected my reading focus. But guess what! It is back!

You will see some book reviews appearing here in the next week. To begin with, I will review some Advent book resources.

advent-candle11Why Advent? Each year we are invited to slow down to consciously pray and journey towards the birth of Jesus during this season. Yet, the days of December are often the most hectic, hurtling us from our post-Thanksgiving food comas into a days of shopping, card writing, parties, wrapping gifts, and more. This can be positively numbing; the opposite of the quiet, holy waiting, and presence that we are called to during Advent. Often times, we can’t wait until Christmas so that we get to relax – or at least collapse into a heap on the sofa.

jesus-christmas-reason-for-the-season-bible-lock-screens-ipad-1In my experience, this causes the liturgical season of Christmas to dissolve, the season which begins once we celebrate the day. A season which often goes unnoticed by many – or just not noted, because there we are exhausted from the pre-December 25 hurly burly! I find this challenge in my own life. I will go so far as to say that having an actual Advent practice, one that stills and orients you towards Jesus,  imight be the best way to keep Jesus as the “reason for the season” rather than a bumper sticker, but hey – that’s just me. Not to mention that the “season” runs until January 12, 2014.

Thus, every year I look for a book to use as a prayer companion on my journey through Advent and the Christmas season. It is my experience that the use of a book dedicated to the season(s) is helpful. Kind of like an Advent calendar with a binding! In all seriousness, the right book, combined with my own morning prayer ritual, becomes a daily anchor, steadying my ship in a storm of busy-ness before December 25, and a reminder of the intentionality that the birth of Christ calls us to. This practice also orients me towards noting and celebrating the Christmas season itself.

If you look for Advent resources you may already know that there is a dizzying array of books out there, which is a great. Yet, so many choices can make for a harder decision. This year I began my search unusually early, and am offering a brief reviews of a few resources for your consideration. Those reviews will be published in the coming days.

img_f2914899aa1What are your Advent practices? How do you prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus? Do you use a book? An Advent calendar? An Advent wreath at your table or elsewhere? Is getting to mass or service a priority for you at this time? Or is it more difficult? Are there other practices woven into your own lives? If you are willing to write them up as a short post, I would like to try publish some of them, as space and time permits. Let me know via email (festinalente07 at gmail) or by leaving a comment. (Comments are moderated, so please feel free to write one that is meant as a note for me, with instructions not to publish it!)

-1But wait – there’s more! Next Monday, I am thrilled to be on the blog tour for one of the best books that I have read in a long time. On Monday I will be one of the first stops for author Kyle Cupp, whose new book “Living by Faith, Dwelling in Doubt” should be on everyone’s reading list. (You may recall my not-review of the book in September.)

ClothedMe.Cover_.Full_-e1372305936491And I might have a word or two, not a review, but an update, about a book that I am involved in, which is about to be published after a printing error and delay!

So stay tuned, follow along, keep reading, and let me know about your Advent practices! Thank you my faithful readers, thank you always!