Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Advent Reading: Two Great Books

Advent is only a few weeks away, so it's not too early to start thinking about books to help put you into the spirit of the season. This year Advent begins on the First Sunday in Advent, December 1, 2013.

Here are a couple of my favorites for 2013:

1. The Advent of Christ: Scripure Reflections To Prepare for Christmas by Edward Sri -- Sri includes reflections for each day of Advent and for each day of the Christmas Season, including the Epiphany. Each daily entry consists of:  a brief Scripture passage, a daily meditation, questions for reflection to apply the passage to your life, and a short closing prayer.

I particularly enjoyed reading the entries in the fourth chapter about the Blessed Virgin Mary, entitled, "In Mary's Footsteps: Her Call and Her Journey of Faith", which is a concise, but comprehensive treatment of Mary's journey through Advent. In The Advent of Christ, we also journey through Advent with: St. Joseph, Zechariah, and St. John the Baptist; the Holy Family from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the witnesses to the mystery -- the Shepherds, the Magi, and Simeon.

Overall, it is easy to read and very understandable, and can be used individually or shared with the entire family. Each passage takes only a minute or two to read. I highly recommend it.

2. Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houder -- This small book offers  a fresh look at Lent with St. Francis as our guide. Each daily entry includes: the lectionary readings, a refelction tying the life of  St. Francis to the Scripture readings for the day and a closing prayer.

I enjoyed this book because Houder pairs the daily readings with the words and deeds of St. Francis of Assisi. Through them, we are able to see and participate in the type of life he led, particularly during Advent -- a life of simplicity, humility, and spiritual poverty -- focusing on prayer, charity, and the true meaning of Christmas. We are reminded in a loving way what the season of Advent is all about by one of the Church's most loved saints. I look forward to contemplating  these daily devotions in more depth this coming Advent.

This book is easy to read, easy to understand, and warms the heart with its wonderfully uplifting and inspiring meditations. It is can be used individually or read aloud and shared with the family. I highly recommend it.

~© Jean M. Heimann November 2013

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