Lighted Windows: a book for Advent

 Lighted Windows, Margaret Silf, Bible Reading Fellowship, Oxford 2002, ISBN: 1 84101 255 6, £6.99

Christmas is coming. The Christmas decorations have been in the shops for weeks, B list starlets have turned up at town halls to switch on the lights and the latest must-haves are already running out in shops, as anxious parents stockpile for the big day. Christmas is coming, and what are we doing about it? If you are like me, one part of you wants to get under the duvet and stay there until Boxing Day, or run away to a desert island where the liturgical calendar doesn't exist. And another part of you begins to finger the pages of the missal for the start of the new liturgical year this Sunday, and looks forward to all those gorgeous Advent readings that seem to come and go so fast, rather like the rest of the goodies in store for Christmas, too much, too rich, all at once.

So an Advent book is an excellent help in a prayerful preparation for this wonderful feast, at a time of the year when most of us have little mental space for personal reflection. Margaret Silf's 'Lighted Windows' offers abridged scriptural readings with a personal reflection, topics for thought during the day and a prayer. The topics are inspired by the readings and range widely from risks, plans, suffering and belonging to emptiness, surprises and surrender. The material would be suitable for reading on the bus into work, or for a ten to fifteen minute session over a cup of coffee, or a full half hour's silent prayer, depending on what you can give to Advent. I suspect that the thoughts inspired by your reading would resonate throughout the day, however busy you might be.

This is a handy book that would fit comfortably into a bag or briefcase or onto a kitchen shelf or next to your computer. The wondrous gift of God-with Us is given silently. Think about giving yourself an early Christmas present this year.

First posted CAMBRIDGE - 26 November 2004 - 350 words

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