Thursday, November 29, 2007

Advent/Christmas reading...

I stopped into one of my favorite stores yesterday (on the way home from a hospital visit) and came out with a couple of new books for the Advent season -- and into Christmas. It's always difficult for me to find good Advent material. A few years ago I got the Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter collections: Watch for the Light and Bread and Wine, and still enjoy those many readings.

However, this year, I found a new book called God with us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. It's beautifully illustrated, with readings for every day in Advent. It's published by Paraclete Press, an ecumenical publishing house. Some of the writers include: Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson. I also found A Seasonal Book of Hours, by William Storey, published by Liturgy Training Publications. This is not a book of readings. It is a morning and evening prayer book for Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. It is very simple and liturgical.

Last year I discovered a great picture book for children called An Advent Storybook. Little Bear and his mother are opening a door on their advent calendar each night, and telling a story. The first story is about a star with a tail. They end up at the manger in Bethlehem.

This year local author Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) has a picture book out for Christmas, called Great Joy. It's about a little girl who is preparing for a Christmas pageant (perhaps in the 1930s?) but is very concerned about an organ grinder and his monkey, who sleep on the street.

And there are two books I am recommending even though I'm not sure they are still in print: two short story collections by Katherine Paterson. One is Angels and Other Strangers, and the other is A Midnight Clear. They have been favorites of mine for a long time. I discovered a few years ago that she began writing the stories for her husband, a Presbyterian minister, to read on Christmas eve.


What are you reading this Advent?

15 comments:

Wyldth1ng said...

I have to tell you I really dont know what advent is. I do read a bit of "religous reading" but whether the right stuff for the time period I haven't a clue.

Reading you all, I think helps the most anyway.

Diane said...

Wyld: Advent means "coming", and is the period of time before Christmas, when we prepare for Christ. Advent starts this Sunday.

Marsha said...

I think I might enjoy the God With Us book. Some of the authors of that one are quoted throughout my Companions In Christ book and journal. Those little blurbs are quite meaningful and of course are chosen because they fit with the subject at that point in the material.

I think I would enjoy most of reading material you recommend.

FranIAm said...

I just got Watch for the Light!

At our parish we are doing an advent reflections project online, I will send you the link Diane, if you wish to see it.

Henri Nouewen has a some great Advent stuff... the books are in Albany and I am in Nyack today however.

phil_in_ny said...

Althoguh Jewish, I grew up with a "chanukah bush", and always loved the holidays. You guys do that Advent wreath, where you light candles on it, right?

CJWille said...

We are reading "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". We talk about the line: "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. "Maybe Christmas, perhaps...means a little bit more!" And then we read the Luke story. We talk about Advent's purpose to "prepare" and what that means. Mostly to my daughter it means having enough hay in the manger. To my son it means "looking harder for a room in the inn". I think I have a way's to go on the idea.

LET'S TALK said...

I finally finished reading Sepher Rezial Hemeland, The Book Of Angel Rezial and I picked up a simple read the other day, 500 Questions & Answers from the Bible.

During this time of year I always read The Zohar as well and I shall start on Volume V, after the 500 questions book.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Diane, thank you. This post is a veritable treasure trove of recommended reading for the season. I'm printing this post for future reference. Maybe the giant chains carry a few, since Advent is fast creeping up. Thank you.

Diane said...

yes, Phil -- at church we have an Advent wreath hanging from the ceiling now!

We will have one on our table at home too.

mompriest said...

Good options for Advent reading...thanks! I do love Advent...

Jan said...

Diane, thank you for all the book suggestions! I've ordered "God With Us," mainly because I love Emilie Griffin and the others.

Diane said...

jan, you won't be sorry!

David said...

I'll have to check out the Augsburg store tomorrow at lunch and see if they have any of your recommendations.

FranIAm said...

I just received an Advent journey book by John Dear from a certain angelic presence, who also happens to read this blog!

Thank you angel!

Diane said...

Fran, I think I saw that book at my favorite Christian bookstore, St. Martin's Table. I hadn't heard of John Dear until you, Grandmere, and Jan.