Customer Reviews of Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
I will admit it.
I am not, generally, enamored with devotional guides. Their simple message often leaves me wanting.
That was not the case with this book, which I received as a gift. Perhaps it was the year. I work for a large retail chain. Two days before Thanksgiving, I found myself loathing the "Christmas Music" being played in the store to create a seasonal buying mood.
In past years Advent was a time for me to contemplate Christ's birth. This past year it turned into a time of contrasting emotions. Eager to reunite with my family, the store's frenzy left me frazzled and indifferent. I lost sight, frankly, of the reason for the season.
For that reason, this book was exactly what I needed. This anthology contained a daily essay from some of the best spiritual writers. Each daily reading gave me a fresh outlook on the true meaning of the holiday season.
Most books of readings arranged like these are full of platitudes and clichés. Not this one. These readings were very carefully selected from very thoughtful writers. They stir one to reflect on the true spiritual meaning of Advent and Christmas - what it means to live in Advent time, in a troubled world in anticipation of the light of God's presence, which both comforts us and shakes us to our core. This book recaptures the spiritual meaning of the season that often gets lost in all the celebration and commercialization. It offers both solace and challenge - a sign of the best spiritual writing.
I wonder as I wander through the pages of this book, how it is that the editors came to choose at least three selections I'd previously read, and having once read, returned to for spiritual nourishment. I felt as if this book had been compiled for me. Gail Godwin's essay on genealogy and grace moved me so much at the time I first read it in one of her novels, that I found myself going back to it over again. Kathleen Norris's writing on The Annunciation compels one to ponder the incomprehensible and embrace the mystery of the holiness of the season. Annie Dillard's description of the Church of the Nativity is rich in detail and provokes consideration of today's Bethlehem. These three readings could fill a season of wonder, but there are enough to cover the time from November 24th to January 7th. From Sylvia Plath to St. Thomas Aquinas, there is enough diversity to please a wide range of preferences. This reader considers it somewhat of a miracle itself that so much could be packed into such a small volume. For readers and thinkers yearning to see beyond the seasonal excesses, I recommend you "Watch for the Light."
Best collection of readings for Advent and Christmas ever.
If you are looking for a great read for Christmas this is it. You can call the Publisher and they will work out a great price if you want to give this book away for Christmas presents. You might also want to look at there book " Bread And Wine Readings for Lent and Easter. These two books are the greatest books to be published on these two themes.
Meaty enough to read this year and next
This is a great devotional book, and I am not usually one that finds devotionals set up like this very interesting. It is set up to have a reading each day during Advent, Christmas and through to Epiphany, and the readings are all written by people like C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Annie Dillard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc. This is no, "What was the innkeeper thinking" sort of advent reading book. It is thoughtful and insightful and has a lot to say that ties into the preparative nature of advent, that is the preparation for the messiah's return. The writings vary in length and type from scholarly writings to musings to poetry or introspection. The readings are meaty enough, too, that you could certainly read them this year and again next year and they'll still be good.