In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Gospel of Luke, Chapter Two, Verses 8-14, NASB
Through the Advent season I have been enjoying reading on the themes of Christmas and two books in particular, stand out this year (in addition to the Scriptures, that is).
The first, is Phyllis Tickle’s Christmastide: Prayers for Advent through Epiphany from the Divine Hours (Galilee, 2003). Beginning in the first Sunday of Advent and continuing on through the Epiphany, Tickle makes accessible the Divine Hours tradition of fixed hour prayers. The book contains the daily offices for morning, noon and vespers and includes hymns, psalms and readings for each day. It’s been a pleasure to study and use as a reminder of what I’d like the season to be more about.
The second book I have read is one that has been on my shelf for a few years …it took awhile to get to it and now that I have, I want to purchase gift copies for friends next year!
A Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson is a collection of five short stories that she wrote for her pastor husband to share with their congregation on Christmas eve…each story looking into the lives of people who were outcasts or strangers – those who might not find room at the inn. “Merit Badges” relates the story of Kate, a scout who decides to befriend a woman in a nursing home, whether she wants a friend or not…and I laughed all through “The Handmaid of the Lord”, the story of Rachel, the seven-year old pastor’s daughter who desperately wants a lead in the church nativity play. Paterson is known for her children’s books, with Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved, as two of her most well-known works. This book is available currently trough Link+ but I’ll remedy this soon and add it to our collection as well.
I realize it is likely late to begin Christmas reading for this year but thought I’d share the readings either for your list for next year…or, if you also celebrate and appreciate the Twelve Days of Christmas, which begins today – Christmas Day and continues until January 5th, followed by the Epiphany, you have time to enjoy both.
Wishing you and those you love, a blessed Christmas!