Dear Students and Friends,
Now that we are in the Nativity season and fast, let us set our minds on the incarnation of the Lord on a daily basis. Here are my recommendations for three books that will help us keep this blessed mindset!
Daily Meditations and Prayers for the Christmas Advent Fast and Epiphany" by Emily Harakas and Anthony Coniaris is really good. I have personally used this book for many years. Each day, there are Bible readings to do, an excerpt from the liturgical services for the season, a prayer to the Theotokos, key Scripture verses and a meditation to read--all on two pages! Starting the day with this book is a good way to stay focused.
Meditations for Advent: Preparing for Christ's Birth" by Vassilios Papavassiliou is organized around the Sundays in Advent (the Nativity fast) and related material such as Scripture, the icons of the season, and the meaning of the Incarnation. The fifteen chapters could easily be read--three per week--during the almost six weeks of the Nativity fast. The author truly points us in the right direction when he says in Chapter 1:
"The Church's invitation to prepare for the Nativity is above all a command to us to open the gates of repentance, that Christ may enter our very being and be born anew in our hearts, and to offer our virtues to the newborn King."
The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth about the Humanity of Christ" by Father Patrick Reardon. This book is amazing. For anyone who wants to truly learn about and reflect on the incarnation--on Jesus' humanity--this book is for you. Using Scripture, tradition and his vast knowledge of the Bible and the ancient languages, Father Pat shows us the human Jesus we may have missed or never thought about. Very easy to read, heart-warming and heart-moving, this is the perfect book for the Nativity season, to keep our minds set on Him, to remind us that Jesus was made like us.
My friends, I hope you will consider doing some serious spiritual reading this season. Keep a journal of your thoughts, share them with others, witness of the glorious work of our Lord and His incarnation. The world needs Him so much.
You can receive credit for your work. You can earn two credits for each book above that you read. Simply read, fill out the General Worksheet for books (available from the Lessons tab) and e-mail your work to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com. May your reading--and your Nativity fast--be blessed and holy!