God With Us offers a gentle discipline for anyone who is seeking to rediscover the gift of a season which goes far deeper than the wrapped packages, and the snowflakes and the familiar carols, and the parties, and the gatherings of families and friends. Indeed, I look forward to discovering anew how much more rich this coming season will be as I slow down with this beautiful volume to listen and learn from others who have thought so deeply about the Meaning of Christmas. How blessed we are to have resources such as this to guide us on our way! If you are looking for a way to deepen, renew, or discover for the first time the profound meaning of this time of year in a way that strengthens your faith, this book is for you. I would highly recommend it.
—Pastor Janet Hunt
Every year the holiday season comes earlier. Coffee cups, mall Santas, ornaments, Christmas music and grocery-store-eggnog all proclaim the yuletide cheer as the retail industrial complex screams, “Happy Holidays!” The Christian tradition has its own way of preparing for the holidays: Advent (beginning this year on November 29). More than just a time for marking the shopping days before Christmas, Advent is about preparing your heart to enter fully into the mystery of God’s coming to us in the Incarnation of Christ.
If you are familiar with any of these authors, you know how deeply they have reflected on the spiritual life and the wealth of insights they have for waiting and watching well. This is really a beautiful book and one of my ‘holiday favorites.’ I read a library copy several years ago and am happy to delve back into it for this season. Five stars, for sure. Now is the time to start thinking about how to wait well. Paraclete Press has several devotional resources designed to help us enter into the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. God With Us: Reader’s Edition of a paperback version of one of my favorites. Like its companion volume God for Us (which walks through Lent and Easter), it brings together a group of writers from across the Christian tradition (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant–in both Evangelical and Mainline), under the editorial gaze of Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe (from Image Journal). Eugene Peterson writes the introduction and four authors each write a weeks' worth of devotions for each day of Advent. The late Richard John Neuhaus provided the devotions for week one. Poets Scott Cairns and Lucy Shaw write the devotions for weeks two and three, respectively. Memoirist Kathleen Norris’s offerings make up week four, leading up to Christmas while Emilie Griffin reflects on the special days between Christmas and the feast of Epiphany. Punctuating each section is Beth Bevis‘s brief histories share the historical context of the church’s practice of the season and various feast days.—James Matichuk
This is a beautiful Advent devotional book in its 4th printing. This quote is from the preface by the author "Christmas is the feast of the Incarnation, which is the mystery of God with us in the flesh. When we cut through the sentiment and marketing to the spiritual riches of Christmas , we recover not only a sense of who God is, but also who we are as human beings." I like the format of the book with the unpacking of the scriptures for the four weeks of Advent followed by Christmas to Epiphany. The history of the feast days by Beth Davis was very informational and I learned a lot about each of the 12 days of Christmas has history and has a specific meaning and purpose. I like the variety of authors from Richard Neuhaus to Kathleen Norris. I did not like that the scripture readings were cited at the beginning of each chapter and not included for convenient reading. I guess I'm just showing laziness, maybe this is made to make the average reader seek out their bible for the readings. Advent is a special time for the church and for me personally. We are an incarnational people where the gift of ourselves is important for the season because of God's gift of himself not just on the cross but by the stable manger. This quote from God with Us "Christmas is about incarnation, and incarnation is God’s becoming what he is not, in order that we might become what he is. Thus does God reveal himself" is a powerful affirmation of our humanity. I would recommend this book to deepen your experience of this spiritual season. From the book is the best recommendation "As this season of preparation continues, Holy God who is with us, may we lean into every moment of our days to redeem the time, to make the most of our every moment."—Patricia McKenna
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About the Author
Greg Pennoyer is president of The Humanitas Group which manages creative endeavors designed to enrich our understanding of what it means to be human. He is cofounder of the Centre for Cultural Renewal, member of the Board of Directors for Image journal, and co-editor with Gregory Wolfe of God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.