25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This Your Best Christmas Ever by Ace Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I came across this, offered free at Amazon, when crusing for Christmas holiday books back in 2010. It proved to be a very good series of reflections and suggestions for how to make December more meaningful leading up to Christmas. In short, it is a Protestant-style Advent book.
What makes this different is that the author focuses on linking the spiritual meditations and activities to the familiar holiday songs and things all around us. It was amazingly effective thanks to that and a nice complement to the Catholic Advent reflections that I normally use.
One caveat: the author is not as careful with some of his research as he could be. Just from my general knowledge I spotted two places where he subscribed to popular Christian wishful thinking in the origins of items, namely the candy cane and the Twelve Days of Christmas. We've all come across these in those emails that get sent around every year and then been discredited via Snopes or some other myth-buster site. He uses them effectively nonetheless as there is no harm in reflecting on those items using those faith-focuses. It is just that it would be nice if the author had fact checked better. This also made me a bit wary in trusting some of his other seemingly convenient stories such as that of the Christian origin of the evergreen tree for Christmas. It may be true but if he got the other things wrong, how can I know unless I check all these other facts too?
Regardless, this does not detract too much from the value that these reflections have for the regular Christian who is trying to keep his head in the midst of the regular bombardment of advertising and flurry of activities.
Looking for a bit more substantial reading for the Advent season, I poked around Amazon for ideas and so ...
- I have also requested from the library Reed of God by Caryll Houselander which focuses on Mary as an empty reed waiting for God's music to be played through her. I read it many years ago and recall liking it a lot.
- As well, I suddenly realized that the library probably had Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives by Benedict XVI. Lo and behold, they had my choice of print or audio. Love this library. It is winging its way to me through the request system.