The true meaning of Advent

Published December 1, 1999

STAYING FOCUSED on the true significance of Advent and Christmas is never easy, as adults concentrate on preparing for the feasting and celebration and children focus on the latest expensive fad advertised on TV. These two books, one for grown-ups and one for them to enjoy with their children, can help enrich the family’s Christmastime.

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas weaves the story of two children celebrating with their family into a colouring and activity book for ages 3 ? 10. Children are helped to follow the Bible stories at the centre of Christmas, and to place gift-giving and other activities into context, through crafts, puzzles, word games, and other activities.

[pullquote]Families can share in making an Advent wreath and simple Advent calendars (using old Christmas cards), tree ornaments and more. Other midwinter cultural celebrations like Hanukkah and Kwanza are noted. And there is a great picture to colour of St. Nicholas, resplendent in bishop’s cope and mitre as a reminder that Santa Claus didn’t begin as a fat clown but as a part of the religious symbolism of Christmas.

Unto Us Is Born offers 37 imaginative conversations with Mary, the mother of Jesus, for use Advent through Epiphany. The author explores the events surrounding the birth of Jesus and the range of emotions Mary may have experienced. Each of the daily readings is introduced with a Bible verse and a scene-setting paragraph, then the dialogue between reader and Mary, ending with questions for reflection and a prayer. The dialogues can contribute to a fresh understanding of the birth of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas. How many of us, for example, can consciously visualize Mary as a nursing mother – “in her mind is the thought that one born of God is at her breast.”


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