My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
Advent can be a good time to get into the habit of daily prayer, or a time to try something new to enrich it. This book is helpful for either goal. It is an easy to read book of daily devotionals for the Advent and Christmas season. Each day's section is divided into four sections: a reading from one of the writings of Henri Nouwen, a reading from the Bible, a prayer, and an "Advent Action", which is, as the name implies, a concrete action to accomplish that day, which relates to the theme of the readings and prayer.
As an example, on day 13, we read Nouwen discussing the Latin words for listening and listening with great attention (obedire and audire) and for not listening (surdus), applying them to Psalm 23 and concluding that "Listening starts precisely when you move from the mind to the heart and let the truth of your being center you down". The scripture reading for the day is Psalm 23. The prayer asks God to help us pay full attention to Him. The Advent Action is to memorize a prayer that will be helpful in times of trouble.
Most of the Advent actions are very doable, but many are challenging. They call the reader to reach beyond him/herself but not so far that it is easy to say "I can't do that, I know it, and so there is no need to try". Live with this book through Advent and you will be ready to welcome the Lord on Christmas.
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