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  • SJSL Together

Suggested Advent Books

Dr Carys Walsh, curate at All Saints’, Kettering, leapfrogs all these divisions by offering a book completed a year ago. Frequencies of God should become something of a classic. The author interprets the poetry of the Welsh priest R. S. Thomas through the Advent prisms of waiting, accepting, journeying, birthing, and seeing. She reveals both knowledge of and love for his verse.

Thomas himself is dark enough to visit the pain and anxiety of any Advent, pandemic or not. By background, Dr Walsh has been a tutor in Christian spirituality at St Mellitus College in London. This is a book for those who already know Thomas or who want to take the plunge and devote time and energy to discovering his verse and its spiritual implications. The author’s lyrical style makes this an attractive option both for an individual or for a study group to share

In the BRF Advent Book, Gordon Giles identifies the three Advent themes that his reflections seek to explore: “hope, expectation and trepidation”. At Home in Advent is intended both for individual use and for groups. With daily thoughts accompanied by questions, activities, and prayers, it offers a “domestic journey from Advent to Epiphany”. The unpretentious text takes account of the coronavirus threat without traumatising the reader. Its very domesticity would make this book the perfect present for someone on lockdown.

The author believes in the “bounty of Christmas” and is happy to find this bounty in the everyday. Here is a timely reminder that, while some of the celebrations may be different this year, it is impossible to “cancel” Christmas.

A former Methodist minister and school and hospice chaplain, Penelope ​Wilcock has a devoted following through her contributions to a monthly column for Woman Alive and a blog, Kindred of the Quiet Way. In her book Into the Heart of Advent, she has assembled a series of dialogues with Jesus. These cover all the familiar Advent themes ranging from the Holy Family, on day one, to the infant light, day 25. The tone is deliberately devotional; the style is familiar. There will, of course, be a readership among those seeking comfort rather than the challenge of too much reality. A Covid-19-free read: consoling, probably; relevant, not.

Comfort, O comfort my people. . . In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord.' The second part of the book of Isaiah rings with proclamations and prophecies that find their fulfilment in the Gospels and are still being fulfilled by followers of Jesus today. In Freedom is Coming the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines invites you to think about what it meant for people in Isaiah's day to be living in exile, and how the prophet encouraged them to keep their faith alive despite the apparent hopelessness of their situation. At the same time, this book helps you to see the connections between Isaiah's time and ours, and how his vision of God's truth and justice spreading throughout the world can comfort, challenge and inspire God's people now, just as it did back then. Read this book and find out how you too can become a 'light to the nations' as, once again, we approach the celebration of Christ's birth and the new world that God has promised to bring into being.

Eden is obviously a good place to buy but other bookshops are available – and Bishop Nick’s book is available from SPCK


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