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Devotional Readings – Advent

Devotional – Advent


Advent Joy - 31 Days for Advent, A Spiritual Focus for Group or Personal Work.    By Elizabeth Rundle

There are five themes: The Kingdom of God is Justice and Peace, The Joy that Jesus Brings, Music Fills the Air, Joy tpo the World and Into the New Year. Publisher

By Joy, I do not mean an effervescent froth of contrived jolity. We are looking at a genuine, heartfelt radiance, the joy that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.Author
This book is a real 'Joy'! There is helpful guidance for the individual reader and for group leaders. Each day's thought, Bible reading with its context , reflection and things to think about, concludes with a prayers and a meditation to think about during the day. Highly Recommended.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk  August 2005 


The Heart of Christmas - Daily Readings and Reflections from Advent to Epiphany               by Chris Leonard

The Publisher writes on the back cover - 

The minute beach towels and barbecues are packed away Christmas with all its hype and commercialism heralds for many the season of stress. It's almost impossible to find The heart of Christmas in the bombardment of glitzy media materialism. 

Chris Leonard helps us find the light of Christ heralding not seasonal stress but the promise of eternity beyond our earthbound dreams. 


Lighted Windows - An Advent Calendar for a World in Waiting       by Margaret Silf


For each day from 1st December to Epiphany which is 6th January, Margaret Silf has carefully chosen a reading from the Bible, then meditated on what we have read. By telling stories personal to her, sharing her thoughts and beliefs, she encourages us to spend time with the passage too, and finishes up with a short prayer.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (14/09/02)


The Incredible Journey: Christmas from Genesis to Jesus BRF Advent Book 2011               by Steve Brady


I am a fan of BRF Advent books and warmed to the theme of this one as soon as I started to read.

December 1st to January 6th split into seven day periods, makes five sections plus two days. These are designated as Starting out: Crashing badly: Detouring often: Arriving on time: Journeying on and Homeward bound. Does that sound a familiar pattern in your life? It does in mine!
Steve Brady has used passages from Genesis to start with, followed by mostly Old Testament readings with a few appropriate New Testament readings interspersed. There is a satisfyingly long passage from scripture at the start of each day, followed by Steve’s related thoughts and a final reflection. These reflections are sometimes prayers but more often points to ponder and use in our own prayers.
Excellent and highly recommended

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (10/10/11)


Pilgrims to the Manger - Exploring the Wonder of God With Us by Naomi Starkey

I have reviewed BRF Advent to Epiphany books in the past by browsing through them but wanting to keep them for reading properly when Advent started. This time I began to read and found myself reading on and on, completely absorbed in the pilgrimage Naomi Starkey was leading.

The theme is a walk through an imaginary cathedral city; first through the town centre, then the suburbs, before going out into the country and viewing the city from a hilltop. Back into the city the next week is spent in the cathedral and the following week we travel home through the countryside to where we part from our fellow pilgrims on a quiet beach.
Every day we are encouraged to think about different issues arising from what we see around us and relating that reflection to the chosen Bible reading for the day. The complete reading is here in the book, the reflection is well worth time spent meditating upon and the closing prayer/reflection for the day is well worth remembering long after the Advent season.

                                                          www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (30/09/10)


The Promise of Christmas - Reflections for the Advent Season by Fleur Dorrell of the Mothers Union

‘Fleur has chosen Bible passages on the promises and prophecies that look forward to Christ’s coming.’

These 25 readings are not dated so they can be used any year in a variety of ways to suit yourself. Divided into groups of five – one for every weekday? – each has an introduction and a web link to the image chosen to accompany the readings and meditations of the group. The subjects are Promised Land: Broken promises: Prophets and prophecies: The Lord is here: and A new life in Christ. Each reading is followed by a meditation, reflection and a prayer. Not time consuming unless you wish it to be.

                                                         www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk    (24/09/07)


Beginnings and Endings (and what happens in between) – Daily Bible Readings from Advent to Epiphany    by Maggi Dawn

These readings and reflections are dated but not specifically for this year, they run from 1st December – 6th January. Maggie Dawn has used as her theme the small-scale beginnings and endings in our everyday lives. Looking at the much larger issues told in the Bible Advent story, she has reflected on the stories of six groups of people and individual characters from the Bible to help us as we try to follow the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our own time. The wonder of this approach is that year on year the reflections still point us along the way. If like me you read quickly, you will be tempted to read more than is set for the day, but if you do this you will loose much of the purpose of the exercise. Maggi Dawn has written well, her reflections are thought provoking and worth while, but the reader needs to contribute time and reflection too, don’t rush at this book as a duty, enjoy and savour what the author has given us.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (26/11/07)


The Jesse Tree - Daily Readings for Advent      by Thomas M Shuman

Taking the theme of the stories that make up The Jesse Tree, those about people whom Jesus would have been taught were his ancestors, Thom Shuman retells these in his own words giving a fresh view to these stories, one for each day followed by a prayer. The pieces are quite short, but well worth dwelling on, I found them thought provoking and full of insights I would not have thought of for myself. Of necessity I had to read them through one after the other, but it was obvious that a day at a time would have been even more rewarding.

                                                         www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk    (21/11/05)

A Classic Nativity Devotional - A Collection of Timeless Christmas ReadingsCompiled   by James Stuart Bell

Enjoy the timeless wisdom of some of the greatest spiritual and literary figures of all time. From the inspirational words of Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and St Augustine to the lyric poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton and Christina Rossetti, this classic collection of devotional thoughts, traditional carols, and memorable hymns will warm your heart and touch your soul as they re-kindle the joyous spirit of Christmas. Publisher


Christmas by Candlelight - Readings and Reflections from Advent to Epiphany by David Thomson

Using the same lay-out as his books for Lent and for Holy Week, David Thomson has divided his study into The Patriarchs: The Prophets: The Baptist: The Birth: On to Epiphany: and then to Candlemas and beyond. For each day the full reading is set out followed by meditation and prayer. For each week notes are given to help a group get the most out of the studies. Carefully written for use any year, repeated use would enable a deepening understanding of the readings. Equally useful for the lone reader, the author seems to talk to you personally, and hold your attention. His thoughts will stay with you through each day.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk    (23/10/06)


Waiting in Expectation.  Reflections for each Day of Advent      by Joseph Pollard

Using passages from the Lectionary for Advent, Monsignor Pollard has given us a reflection, a prayer for each day and an activity for each week. So for each day we have two pages to read, which should fill our minds for the following hours and help prepare us for the glory of Christmas, but also to the future and Christ’s second coming in Glory.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (14/12/05)


Glory in Our Midst       by Michael Perham

Glory in Our Midst treats the period from the beginning of Advent to the very end of Christmas and Epiphany as a single unit. Michael Perham explores how, gradually, the meaning of Christ's coming is revealed and, behind that unfolding, how key elements emerge in the Christian understanding of God himself. Publisher

I found this to be a book to work through slowly and thoughtfully rather than a quick read through. Michael Perham gives us a lot to think about, with fresh insights into familiar stories and a new perspective on Advent.

 www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk   (21/10/05)


On the Way to Bethlehem - Reflections on Christmas for every day in Advent by Hilary McDowell

Hilary McDowell imagines a traveller packing up her belongings and travelling the road to Bethlehem as Christmas approaches. The themes for each week, Packing the case, Saying Goodbye, Stepping Out and so on, enables the author to introduce readings not normally associated with Advent as well as others we would expect to find. The story linking each piece becomes a meditation, the prayers, just what I want to say but can’t find the words. Thank you Hilary.

www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk    (22/09/01)

Companions on the Bethlehem Road - Daily readings and reflections for the Advent journey   by Rachel Boulding

You may think, as I did "what – not another Advent reading book!" Yes it is – but with a different slant. Based on the Lectionary readings for Advent and sub-divided into weekly themes and daily portions, this book is a gem. The author brings her literary expertise to enlighten the passages by using short quotes from a variety of poets, ranging from Tennyson, to Herbert and W H Auden.

The Advent readings themselves are like precious gemstones. So often we try to attack them head on. As a diamond throws out different lights and sparkles when lit up from oblique angles, so this book sheds new light through its oblique approach.
Non-poetry readers – do not be put off. The poetry is well chosen and does not dominate each day's reading. Indeed – it may well encourage you to go to the poem's source and so gain further insight.
Finally there is the added bonus of a reflection at the end of the reading, as a spur to think afresh and maybe to act.
www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk    (15/12/12) 


Real God in the Real World.  Advent and Christmas Readings on the Coming of Christ  
By Trystan Owain Hughes 

This book offers a lively, engaging, and accessible look at the theme of the Incarnation, the mysterious event at the heart of Christmas, using personal stories, illustrations from popular culture and the arts, as well as daily Bible readings. The starting-point is what the 'Word made flesh' means for us and how the first Christmas should still have an impact on our everyday lives.


40/40 - 40 Days to renew Your Mind, Transform Your Life      by Phil Green

Each day starts with a short Bible reading, followed by a short explanation/thoughts on the reading, a prayer, something to ponder on, a chat (which encourages a conversation with a friend or stranger about part of your life). Then there is something to write or do, (I now have sticky notes in lots of strange places!) ending with an action, which even reading it gives something else to ponder on! Each evening there is another Bible reading followed by a prayer and something else to ponder on.

After each 5 days there is a further page of five short readings each with a more personal question. These pages could be used as a group session or individually.
The book can be used at any time of the year, as a group study, for a particular special session, for example Lent or Advent, or for individual use.
It is thought provoking, and when used with the ‘write’ and ‘action’ items it aims to assist in improving the way we live our Christian lives. I found the book to be inspiring and encouraging. Some of the daily challenges seemed a little daunting in the morning, however by evening I normally found I had completed them!        

www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk       (2/10/12)

Living the Gospel Stories Today         by John Pritchard

Jesus ‘wasn’t so much a theologian as God telling stories’. John Pritchard’s simple but deeply revealing observation about Jesus takes us to the heart of the objective of this short book. Living the Gospel Stories Today is a superb encouragement to allow the truth of God’s desire to forge a relationship with us (which is what theology is) to be revealed through the ordinary narratives of life. And in the Bible we have countless excellent examples of precisely this.

The core of the book comprises 18 short reflections on different gospel stories. With each John Pritchard has given the story a new dynamic by placing the biblical story alongside experiences that will be familiar to many of us. This not only enables us to enter the gospel story with fresh vision and enthusiasm, it also transforms the story from being a dry passage of scripture into a living vehicle for God’s grace: there is something deeply missional, even sacramental about John Pritchard’s approach.
Each reflection concludes with suggestions for further individual or group reflection and prayer. And this book would certainly make an ideal tool for Advent or Lent study. 

www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk       (25/8/12)


Windows on a Hidden World - Exploring the Advent Landscape by Jane Maycock


A Christian reader’s advent calendar! So, no visual images or little windows to open, but a daily considered reading from the 1st – 25th of December that sets before your minds eye keen insights through the journey of Advent to Christmas.

Most are short easy reads, but with deeper context just lying under them, that take perhaps only five minutes to read, so are perfect for quiet time devotions and easy enough to do each day, but coloured with down to earth understanding of issues such as the wilderness experience in Christmas (perhaps a form of loneliness), heaven, hell, judgement, and jingle bells.
Each day we reflect on the juxtaposition of modern Advent experiences, Santa, Christmas songs etc. set against the birth of the Christ Child, the meaning of the incarnation and aspects of being Christian and other biblical and theological principles. It is done in a gentle, easy to read way with wonderful prose meditations and poetic references. A lovely book that is sure to be a wonderful twenty-five day Advent devotion, a joy to read.

www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk       (18/8/12)


The Heartbeat of Hope - Cover to Cover Advent  by Elizabeth Rundle



Join Elizabeth Rundle for 31 days of Advent study, and find ‘something of eternity’ to touch your heart and deepen your faith.

Wherever we live, we are not immune to the tensions, fears, regrets, hopes and dreams of the world as it is. We face these human realities within our communities, our families and even in our own hearts. In this book, we trace the heartbeat of hope throughout the Old Testament, the pulse of longing for God’s Messiah.
We join our faith with the people of God who, over three millennia, have longed and lived for the world as it could be ... God’s kingdom of reconciliation, justice and peace. We shall explore the way hope and trust are interchangeable in Hebrew Scripture and think about our own approach to these words in the light of the Gospels.
Each day comprises Bible verses, comment, personal application, points to ponder and a prayer. Each week ends with a group study page.


Haphazard by Starlight – A Poem a Day from Advent to Epiphany                     by Janet Morley

Advent is celebrated when the year is becoming darker and colder, moving into the death and dormancy of winter. Before we can greet the coming of the light, we need to engage with some themes that are challenging and occasionally fearful. Like the Magi who travelled a long distance to search out and adore the infant Jesus, and who took some wrong turns on the way, we too have a journey to undertake before we find that we have‘Walked haphazard by starlight straight' Into the kingdom of heaven.’Here the reader is given an oportunity to engage in a pilgrimage of the heart, through Advent and Christmas to the feast of the Epiphany. Each day offers a poem (sometimes explicitly Christian , often not) and an accessible commentary that is both critically informed and devotional in intent. Poets include Rowan Williams, Elizabeth Jennings, Edwin Muir, Philip Larkin, T.S.Eliot, Sylvia Plath, William Blake and many more.


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