Julie Davis beat me to it, but as usual, I have some Advent Reading ideas — and more than one of them would also make terrific Christmas gifts:
Topping the List, because I just think it’s so cool to have music specific to Advent to access at this time: The Benedictines of Mary’s must-have recording, Advent at Ephesus. If you didn’t get it last year, do yourself a favor and gift yourself with this glorious music, which is the antidote to all the noise that is about to come upon us. Listen here; they have an astonishing tone.
This might seem like a counter-intuitive title, but Kyle R. Cupp’s Living By Faith, Dwelling in Doubt: A Story of Belief, Uncertainty, and Boundless Love is not a bad read for Advent, particularly if — as sometimes happens — your faith is feeling wander-ish and unanchored.
When I needed a father I found the fatherhood of God. I discovered a person disclosed by the Scriptures I studied and the sacraments I received. I chose to embrace this person as my truest father. I recall the moment I formally made this choice. I was alone on our driveway, shooting hoops poorly, contemplating my God intently. And then I knew who my father was and what I had to do. And so I did it. I called my God “father,” not as an abstraction, but as a term of endearment from a son. […] The way we imagine God sets the road we will take.
Because Advent is also the beginning of the new Liturgical Year — and because it is all about promise and new beginnings, I’m recommending God’s Bucket List by Teresa Tomeo. It too is, in its way, counter-intuitive as it argues that the best way to accomplish one’s own “Bucket List” is to first pursue God’s: Live in Stillness; Live with Passion; Live with Instruction; Live in the Mess.
I’m using this book, myself, this Advent, because I need some new perspective to inform what I hope is new resolve. This is a very good gift idea, as well.
If you’re looking for more traditionally “Advent-y” material, I still stand by these past recommendations from 2010 and 2012, which are heavy on Advent-specific books that are so good I they stand the test of time.
Someone just asked me why I wasn’t also recommending this book for Advent reading, and I said, “because I didn’t think of it”. And he said, “well, that dumb. The Advent of the Incarnation of God is a really good time to ponder all the things we mistake for God in our lives, so we can de-clutter in time for Christ.”
And I was like, “well, yeah…”
So, you know. . .as Jay Sherman would say often — until someone shot him — “Buy my book! Buy my book!”.