Resources for Advent

Resources for Advent

Christmas comes and goes so quickly.

So much fuss, so much energy, so much stress, trying so hard. Far from being celebrative it almost becomes burdensome. Fun-burdensome, though, or we wouldn’t do it.

What resources are there to help us come to Christmas slowly and quietly?

These three little books were just what I needed — resources to help me slow down and pray thoughtfully for a few minutes on each day of Advent.

Advent is the four weeks before Christmas when Christians enter a time of preparation that will open us to a joyful participation in the incarnation, in God becoming human and dwelling among us.

These resources that help us through some structured reflection to get beyond the commercial jingles that assail us at every turn.

Joy to the World, Kathleen M. Basi (Liguori, $8.95) is a compendium of Advent activities for your family. Some activities are pure fun, some are faith building and some are service based.

If you’d like to turn the TV off and do something as a family, this offers some great possibilities. The activities require some forethought and preparation and would be life shaping for children and parents together.

Daily Reflections for Advent 2010, Ronald Witherup (St Anthony Messenger Press, $4.95), is a little book to keep in your pocket or bag for those moments when you want a chance to meditate, reflect and pray.

It is structured simply with a different reading, reflection and prayer and action for each day of Advent. This would be a nourishing resource and, while it reflects a more traditional Catholic spirituality, will helpfully shape a user’s approach to and appreciation of Christmas.

A similar book is Judith Sutera’s Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from St Benedict (Liguori, $16.95). This, too, is a book of daily reflections for both the Advent and Christmas periods. It offers a reading from St Benedict, a reading from scripture, a prayer and an Advent action for each day.

I am not familiar with the writings of St Benedict and found that they were harder for me to connect with. That is not a problem, because it makes me stop and think. It forces on me a disciplined moment of being present and enables me to enter the other parts of the devotional act with more awareness and presence.

These three little books are helpful devotional resources for individual and family. Anyone of them used with discipline through the days of Advent will enrich your experience of Christmas.

Douglas Purnell

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