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Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

Plough Publishing House / 2014 / Hardcover

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Product Description

An unparalleled "holiday" anthology of wisdom, beauty, spiritual nourishment---and disarming reflection! Features exquisite essays from Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Madeleine L'Engle; Annie Dillard; Martin Luther; Kathleen Norris; Bernard of Clairvaux; Meister Eckhart; Brennan Manning . . . enough to carry you from the beginning of Advent to the end of Epiphany. 330 pages, hardcover from Plough.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 330
Vendor: Plough Publishing House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 7.25 X 5.0 (inches)
ISBN: 087486917X
ISBN-13: 9780874869170

Publisher's Description

Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season. Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us not only during Advent, but every day. Whether dipped into at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase holiday preparations new depth and meaning. Includes writings by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Sylvia Plath, J. B. Phillips, Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, Henri Nouwen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Kathleen Norris, Meister Eckhart, St. Thomas Aquinas, Karl Rahner, Isaac Penington, Madeleine L Engle, Alfred Delp, Loretta Ross-Gotta, William Stringfellow, J. Heinrich Arnold, Edith Stein, Philip Britts, Jane Kenyon, John Howard Yoder, Emmy Arnold, Karl Barth, Oscar Romero, William Willimon, Johann Christoph Arnold, Gail Godwin, Leonardo Boff, G. M. Hopkins, Evelyn Underhill, Dorothy Day, Brennan Manning, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Romano Guardini, Annie Dillard, Martin Luther, St. John Chrysostom, Giovanni Papini, Dorothee Soelle, C. S. Lewis, Gustavo Gutierrez, Philip Yancey, J. T. Clement, Thomas Merton, Eberhard Arnold, Ernesto Cardenal, T. S. Eliot, John Donne, Gian Carlo Menotti and Jurgen Moltmann."

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    A wonderful devotional for the Advent Season
    November 30, 2016
    Bonnie
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Watch for the Light - Readings for Advent and Christmas, is a beautiful collection of readings filled with spiritual insight and wisdom. Selections begin on November 24 and continue through January 8 providing the reader with an entire season of reflection up to and preceding the Advent season. Some of the authors included in the collection include Thomas Merton, Phil Yancy, Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many other well known Christian writers.

    I was extremely excited to receive this book for review. Advent is always an important time in my home as we prepare for our Christmas celebrations. As I began reading the daily selections, my heart was filled to overflowing. It was evident each selection was carefully chosen and placed in the book to provide the reader with spiritual food for thought.

    One selection I particularly enjoyed was written by William Willimon. Willimon begins his article by talking about the difficulty most of us have in being able to accept gifts or compliments. It's not natural and we feel awkward, he implies. He says we're better at being givers and we "enjoy thinking of ourselves as basically generous, benevolent, giving people. That's one reason why everyone, even the nominally religious, loves Christmas. Christmas is a season to celebrate our alleged generosity." He says, "We love Christmas because, as we say, Christmas brings out the best in us. Everyone gives on Christmas, event the stingiest among us, even the Ebeneezer Scrooges." The reason Willimon thinks we're better givers than receivers is because we're proud and arrogant people. But, says William Willimon, as he talks about the biblical account of the first Christmas, "...we are portrayed not as the givers we wish we were but as the receivers we are." He explains what God wanted to do for us was "...so strange, so beyond the bounds of human effort and striving, that God must resort to utterly unnatural, supernatural means. It tells of an unimaginable gift from a stranger, a God whom we hardly even knew. This strange story tell us how to be receivers." Willimon says God often loves us by giving us gifts we didn't think we needed and these gifts help transform us into people we don't necessarily wish to be. He uses the example of King Ahaz and how Isaiah, the prophet, is begging Ahaz to trust in God's promises to Israel instead of placing his trust in an alliance with Syria. Isaiah warns Ahaz and tells him God is going to give him a sign, a baby. Surely this was not what Ahaz expected as a sign from a mighty God, but it's the sign God gives. It is at this point, Willimon says, "Then this stranger comes to us, blesses us with a gift, and calls us to see ourselves as we are - empty handed recipients of a gracious God who, rather than leave us to our own devices, gave us a baby." As I read William Willimon's article, I realized his article caused me to focus on Christ Himself. Jesus, the greatest gift of all, was given to all of humankind by God. He didn't expect anything from us in return, but gave His gift freely. The only requirement was that we be ready to receive.

    Watch for the Light - Readings for Advent and Christmas is a powerful book filled with a variety of beautiful readings. The main purpose of the collection, according to the Editors, was to encourage a rediscovery of Advent and point the reader toward a season of inward preparation. The editors also want us to know "Advent marks something momentous: God's coming into our mist. That coming is not just something that happened in the past. It is a recurring possibility here and now. And thus Advent is not merely a commemorative event or an anniversary, but a yearly opportunity for us to consider the future, second Advent - the promised coming of God's kingdom on earth."

    Thanks to Plough Publishing for allowing me the privilege of reviewing this book in exchange for my honest review. It was my pleasure to read this collection and provide a positive review however I was in no way encouraged to do so.
  2. Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Devotional For The Advent/Christmas Season
    December 16, 2014
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Various authors in their new book Watch For The Light published by Plough Publishing House gives us Readings for Advent and Christmas.

    From the back cover: From the worlds best-loved writers, a reading for every day of the holiday season.

    Unparalleled both in concept and scope, this new collection of readings for Advent and Christmas offers wisdom, beauty and spiritual nourishment from a wide spectrum of classic and contemporary sources.

    Containing a selection for each day of the Christmas season, from the last week of November through the first week of January, Watch For The Light can be dipped into at leisure or followed as a guide to daily devotions. Either way it will give new meaning to the phrase holiday preparations.

    Advent literally means Arrival. For us it is the five weeks from the end of November until the day after Epiphany in January which is the traditional close of the holidays. This time is what is known as the holiday season. This is the time for shopping, Christmas and New Years parties, gift giving, Christmas movies and other things that capture our attention, make us run around and quite literally exhaust us. That is not really the purpose for the season. What we should be doing is focusing our attention on the coming of God to Earth in the form of a baby. Advent is not purple candles and it does not belong to a denomination it is for all individuals who believe in Jesus. We need to focus our attention on Him. Watch For The Light gives us a devotional, by day, for every day of Advent. The first day I went to look at was my birthday. Each day has a a story or poem from a respected author to re-focus our attention on God and away from those things that cause us to be busy and separate from God. It helps to renew and reinvigorate us in our spirits. They are easy reads that do not take much time but the results are lasting. This is one book you will be returning to year after year. It is also a great gift to give to friends and family to help them with their days. I recommend this book highly.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Handlebar for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  3. Maine
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Watch for the Light ~ Readings for Advent and Christmas
    December 6, 2014
    debs
    Maine
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This was not what I expected, it was more then I expected and like nothing I have seen for an Advent reading. This is a book of daily readings by many different authors. Some days have long readings and others are very short readings. Each day is very interesting and in depth readings, some readings are just like a sermon, very interesting and so touching.

    I would recommend this as a book to read during the season, or you could read it as a daily devotional, it is this good. It would be good for a family daily reading. The book is hardcover and will easily fit in your pocket or bag for easy traveling.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Plough Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
  4. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Glory and Mystery entering our reality.
    November 30, 2014
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Watch for the Light~ Readings for Advent and Christmas.

    I've never formally observed Advent, unless you count opening the 24 doors on the Precious Moments Advent Calendar.

    In my circles, Advent was merely the countdown to the fun of Christmas day.

    Over the past year, my family has collected a small library of Plough Publishing titles. Each one has been challenging and enjoyable, the kind of book I look forward to sharing with people.

    A Plough Advent devotional was an ideal choice.

    Watch for the Light combines material from the ancient and modern voices, from every corner of Christendom.

    We have St. Chrysostom, John Donne, T. S. Eliot, Madeleine L'Engle and Philip Yancey.

    The selections also vary greatly in length and style.

    (This seems to be turning some readers on there heads. Most devotional entries are one paragraph long, paired with a single Bible verse. The editors here did not confine themselves to that mold.)

    One reading was fourteen pages long- and worth every word, because it was written by Alfred Delp before he was hanged by the Nazis in 1945.

    Another was a few scant stanzas from Sylvia Plath, reminding us that:

    "Miracles occur,

    If you dare call those spasmodic

    Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's

    Begun again,

    The long wait for the angel,

    For that rare, random descent."

    Frankly, I don't see how these selections could be uniformly reduced to one paragraph. It would compromise them. And the diversity is excellent.

    There's Brennan Manning, calling us to be "Shipwrecked at the Stable," captured by the pure Love that was suddenly seen enfleshed.

    There's Karl Rahner- "We roll up all our needs and yearnings into one word: Come! And yet... could you approach any nearer to us that you did when you became the Son of Man, when you adopted our ordinary little ways so thoroughly? It is said that you will come again, and this is true. But the word 'again' is misleading... because you have never really gone away. In the human existence that you made your own for all eternity, you have never left us."

    There's Evelyn Underhill- "We have got to begin by a humble recognition that human things can be holy, very full of God... that all life is engulfed in him and he can reach out to us anywhere at any level."

    There's Emmy Arnold- "The true Christmas experience is to feel that this Christmas peace is the greatest power; that even now on earth it overcomes all unpeace. That this peace shall come to all, that is the expectation and the faith of Christmas!"

    There's St. Bernard of Clairvaux- "Let the Word, I pray, be to me, not as a word spoken only to pass away, but conceived and clothed in flash that he may remain with us. Let him be, not only to be heard with the ears , but to be seen with the eyes, touched with the hands and borne on the shoulders. Let the Word be to me, not as a word written and silent, but incarnate and living..."

    There's Henri Nouwen, writing about the way Mary and Elizabeth and Anna must have waited- "Active waiting is to be present fully in the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it."

    Let me put it this way: Reading Watch for the Light will enlarge your concept of Advent.

    We live in Advent, waiting and working in anticipation; the Eternal Birth takes place in us; and the tidings of Goodwill go out ahead of us into 2015.

    Thank you Plough Publishing for this fine book. My last comment will be how well-made the book itself is, a solid hardcover that's 327 pages long and feels good in my hand. It would last for years if you re-read it over and over.
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