Customer Reviews: God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas
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on December 17, 2007
Every Christmas my wife and I think, "O my, we've done it again - Christmas is here and we've allowed the busy-ness of the season to keep us from preparing our hearts and our home for the coming of the Christ child." We started using this book at the recommendation of a friend and whole-heartedly recommend it to you. We are being prepared this Advent and this book has much to do with it. The paintings, Scripture verses, discussions and prayers have been a great help to us and those in our small group as well.
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on December 29, 2007
I discovered this book while doing some last minute shopping on Christmas Eve day. I was experiencing that familiar feeling of "missing" Christmas again this year. I found it again in this book. It has inspired me to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas for the first time. The readings are timely, thought provoking, prayer inspiring, and quite simply BEAUTIFUL! I'm already looking for copies to give as gifts for next year. I hope the authors are planning on a similiar collection for Lent and Easter. I would order it sight unseen.
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on December 21, 2007
I was looking for a way to focus my attention during Advent this year and heard about this book from the journal Image. As promised, the book has beautiful reproductions of art to go with each daily reading during Advent. There are also scripture passages each day and a short reflection written by one of the six contributors. Information and reflections on feast days are included, and I really like the fact that the book continues until Epiphany. I've been able to keep up so far and have been challenged and encouraged by the readings to remember Jesus in the midst of what can be a very distracting time of year. This book will make a great gift for my friends and family for next year's Advent season.
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on January 7, 2008
This book guides readers through the four weeks of advent with short devotionals and prayers that lead one into new and wonderful contemplations of the Incarnation. It also includes histories of feast days and every other page is illustrated with a breathtaking sacred masterpiece. I would highly recommend it as a rich pre-Christmas gift for any deep-thinking, art-loving individual.

One quote in particular by Neuhaus struck me with awe:

"God who is the fullness of Being infiltrated our world of beings in order that we might fully be. Christmas is about incarnation, and incarnation is God's becoming what he is not, in order that we might become what he is."
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2012
This is a fabulously beautiful book, both in content and in quality. Paraclete Press and editors, Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe have done a masterful job of retelling the Christmas Story through the seasons of Advent and Christmastide in this work. They have combined the gifts of art in poetry, paintings, Holy Scripture, liturgy, and prayer to produce a wonderful devotional for the Christmas season.

First, I'll share a few words on the technical aspects of the book itself. The book is heirloom quality being very sturdy. It is hardbound with glossy, heavy gauge paper. The title of the book is gold embossed on the spine over a very durable feeling red cloth cover. Paraclete Press has also thoughtfully included a single ribbon marker for place keeping. The volume is somewhat large and non-standard in size at nine and a half inches by seven inches and just slightly over a half inch thick.

Second, I will highlight some of the content details. The book is arranged as a daily reader, following the track of Advent through the weeks leading up to Christmas and then proceeding through the season of Christmastide (The Twelve Days of Christmas) and ending on the Feast of Epiphany. Multiple fonts and font colors are used to bring the reader's attention to various sections, sidebars, and highlighted areas of each devotional piece.

An incredibly gifted group of authors and spiritual writers has been invited to share in this collection of Advent devotions. Among the group are the following names: Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson, and Luci Shaw.

The illustrations included in God With Us are classic masterpieces, beautiful and timeless--some of the pieces shared are from Gauguin, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Redon, and Leonardo di Vinci. I loved the illustrations as focal points for my meditations.

If I were to offer any critique, it would be for the prayers included at the end of each devotional writing. Two things I found were a little troubling for me; one, was the reduction in font size (perhaps down to a 9pt. font). Second, was the font color change to light gold. While the color change was aesthetically pleasing, the reduction in font size and the light coloration made reading the prayer difficult. I found myself on more than a few occasions lifting and tilting the book toward the light, so I could find a better reading angle with hopes of seeing the words more boldly. Aside from this one little nit, I find no fault with the book. Everything about it from binding to content to presentation is exquisite. I believe it is a heirloom quality piece and will be proud to hand it down to my own children.
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on December 23, 2012
The Church calendar allows us to simultaneously look back into history at the steps Jesus and his followers through the century have taken, and forward into the unfolding of our present day walk with our Lord. This book does the same. I found myself enriched by discussion of the historical roots of the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany while seamlessly inspired to live them more deeply in this present day.

Beginning with an Introduction that prepares us for wonder, continuing through an Advent section that daily guides us through this preparatory season, and providing companionship through the full Christmas season and the joys of Epiphany, this book serves as a worthy guide to the family or individual seasons of this time of year.

God with Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas, edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe, contains the writings of several talented and well known contributors, both Catholic and Protestant. The shift among from the voice of one contributor to another, as the book proceeds, adds to the sense of worship in community. Like traditional worship, this book is a sensory delight. It is the type of book that you feel the weight of in your hands. The high quality paper, ribbon marker, pervasive color, and exquisite art present a tactile and visual feast.

As we used this book night by night, I thought of families and individuals who may want to begin incorporating traditional observances into their devotional life. I have been told by some that this can be a difficult process, juggling lectionaries, calendars, and devotionals with which one is not familiar. This book however, makes the process simple and frees one up to simply drink in the blessings of the process and to worship unfettered. Each part of Advent through Epiphany is introduced with a historical background section that explains its meaning. Each daily section has a full set of recommended readings, a reflection, and a prayer provided. Keeping track of feast days that fall within the season is not taxing; the book does it for you, day by day.

For those for whom traditional observances are old hat, the devotions and reflections in this book re-invigorate the reader by conveying the meanings of the various parts of the season and inspire one to life application. This is one book that will never leave my home. It will be awakened from its annual off-season rest and opened again and again to bless our Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons.

The content of God with Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas is will bless adults and older children. Heartily recommended.
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on December 21, 2008
This is a book that is beautifully produced: high quality paper,printing,art,and writing. It's a perfect gift for the Advent season - for you or for others. It would be especially meaningful for those whose spirituality is a major part of their daily life. It's perfect for reading in the morning before the busy-ness of the day begins.
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on November 27, 2015
Emmanuel is the meaning of Christmas. Emmanuel means God With Us, the title that says it all. 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."
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on November 16, 2015
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.

God With Us: Reader's Edition edited by Greg Pennoyer & Pregory Wolfe
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.

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.

Note: I received this book from Paraclete Press in exchange for my honest review.
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on November 16, 2015
Excellent reading for the Advent season. Not as compelling and beautiful as the same authors' Easter and Lent book, God For Us, but worthwhile just the same. Should be republished in the hardbound version.
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