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The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis Paperback – September 28, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Each reflection begins with a quote from Pope Francis, and expands upon his idea applying or contrasting it into our everyday lives. The best part is the "present" found at the end of each reflection, "Your Christmas Gift Today." This encourages us to apply the lesson by given to us with ideas to add to our Christmas preparations and celebrations.
This book is a wonderful addition to reflect upon the true meaning of the season and quieting our hearts and minds from the everyday rush to get everything done before Christmas comes and goes, along with our family and friends. The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Frances by Diane Houdek will bring new meaning to the entire Advent and Season of Christmas and will provide our families with a new peace we can only find by seeking the Christ Child in the manger.
I find it a self-fulfilling prophecy, then, that so many people dread the Christmas holiday. If we begin it with anxiety and consumerism, why would we celebrate the rest of the season with inner tranquility and harmony among friends? But author Diane M. Houdek understands this conundrum and still she wrote another gem for the liturgical season of Christmas to pierce the heart with quiet joy and the calm we all crave.
The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis is a little book you can pick up without feeling pressured to do a specific daily reading. It's there to feed your soul when you are overwhelmed, in the moments you find yourself exhausted, or even when you are moved by the Holy Spirit to discover the grace of the season.
As I opened the first pages and read the introduction, I felt that Houdek was offering the insights from Pope Francis she had collected as a personal Christmas gift to me. She prefaced the book in such a way that the reader feels she is journeying with him or her. And each reflection is according to theme, not "First Day of Christmas" or "Epiphany." Houdek wrote that she wants the book to be read in an atmosphere of stillness and solitude, not out of a rushed attitude of "getting something else done" for the day.
So enter into the Christmas season with this spiritual accompaniment that will soothe the first inklings of anxiety and fear that Black Friday seem to dangle in your face. You'll remember that every gift, every deal, every party or special dish is all peripheral to spending time with the Infant Jesus. Babies remind us that the primary need of all people is to be loved and cherished. So take some time to sit a while with the Christ Child and just love Him.
I was extremely impressed with Diane M. Houdek’s writings in this book. Her words flowed so seamlessly with Pope Francis’s reflections and the accompanying prayers. Her writing style is fresh, warm, and inviting. Houdek does a fantastic job of letting readers in on her own experiences during the holidays, inviting us to reexamine our focus each day of Advent, and drawing us closer each day to the coming light of the Christ child.
One thing I particularly loved is that the days were not dated or numbered. This book can be read one entry after the next, one day at a time, or all in one sitting, and can be picked up year after year for fresh perspective. My recommendation, however, with today being the eve of Advent, would be to pick it up now and begin reading an entry each day as we await the joys of Christmas together. Look to the light of Christ this Advent and each day thereafter, and allow The Peace of Christmas to be your guide.
This book can easily be appreciated by all Christians. Words from the Pope, a reflection on those words by Diane Houdek and then a simple Christmas gift for yourself and/or others.
If you want a Scripture led Advent read this is probably not for you, although you would gain much from reading this volume alongside. The readings would only take a couple of minutes.
I was given this book by NetGalley and the publisher. This is my voluntary review.