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Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  853 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season.

Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions in
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published September 22nd 2014 by Plough Publishing House (first published September 1st 2001)
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I can't remember how many times I've read through this book. Some years I would start and not finish, but this year I stayed the course. The readings vary, ranging from Sylvia Plath's "Black Rook in Rainy Weather" which I have printed out and hanging up in my cubicle at work, to selections from Madeleine L'Engle and Kathleen Norris, who are favorites of mine. CS Lewis is here, along with TS Eliot, Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many others.

The season of Advent can easily be lost in our t
Nov 30, 2014 Faith rated it it was amazing
Watch for the Light~ Readings for Advent and Christmas.

I've never formally observed Advent, unless you count opening the 24 doors on the Precious Moments Advent Calendar.
In my circles, Advent was merely the countdown to the fun of Christmas day.

Over the past year, my family has collected a small library of Plough Publishing titles. Each one has been challenging and enjoyable, the kind of book I look forward to sharing with people.
A Plough Advent devotional was an ideal choice.

Watch for the
Jan 09, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, faith
I didn't get Watch for the Light until nearly the end of Advent, so I can't give a complete review. What I can tell you this is: this is not your average Advent devotional. Filled with thought provoking essays and beauty like the T.S. Eliot poem "Journey of the Magi" (perhaps the single most beautiful thing I have read so far this year), this book is lovely. Even better than its contents alone, it goes through January 7, epiphany. When December 25 has come and gone and your holiday commitments h ...more
Becca Barnett
Dec 21, 2013 Becca Barnett rated it it was amazing

Various Authors, Paperback, Orbis Books, 2004

Excellent anthology of readings for Advent through the day after the Epiphany from significant Christian writers from 350 AD (St. John Chrysostom) to 1090 AD (Bernard of Clairveux) to the present ( e.g., Kathleen Norris, Annie Dillard, and Gustavo Gutierrez). Readings are a little longer than books in this genre--up to eight pages or more--so do not leave the readings until Saturday night for a dis
Karen Floyd
Nov 25, 2013 Karen Floyd rated it really liked it
This is a book of daily readings from the beginning of Advent through Epiphany, by a wide variety of writers from early Christianity to the present. I'd been wanting to read it for several years and decided this was the year to treat myself to it. I'm glad I did. The writers' backgrounds are many and what they said always gave me something to think about, even when I disagreed. I was particularly pleased that the editors included poems as well as prose - T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Jane Kenyon. On ...more
Jan 02, 2010 Naomi rated it really liked it
I used this devotional through the Advent and Christmas season (it ends January 7)as a way to focus and ponder some significant christian writers approaches to Advent, Christmas, and the beginning of Epiphany. The collection is marvelous, in part because just when I was delighted to be reading a collection of liberationist texts, I would encounter a piece that really challenged me or was so caught up in doctrine that I had to parse it out, piece by piece, bow to the author, and then find a way t ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it
I chose this as my devotional reading right before Christmas from a bag of books lent to me by a minister at my church.

This is a collection of writings, speeches, conversations, and sermons from saints, ministers, and lay people from a variety of Christian backgrounds. Some of the daily readings really helped me think about Advent or Christmas in a different way that I hadn't considered before. Others seemed to ramble on without much of a point. The readings were not necessarily connected to a p
Nov 26, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
While a few bits of this were uneven, (whether it was pace or content) there was sooooo much good in it, I can overlook that. It was hard to not read it in chunks and to only read a bit every day, which is partially why I'm finished 7 days early. Some of the readings were like 10 pages long, so if you're looking for easy quick devotionals this is not it. Eventually, I'll have to go back through it and maybe get books that contain some of the selections that the publishers choose to put in this c ...more
I have used this devotional book several times since I purchased it. Each time I find new insights, new ways to rejoice in my faith and in G-d's faith in me.

There are writings from all over the Christian map, people I knew and people I met for the first time in this book.

I would recommend this to anyone who is overwhelmed by what our society has done to Advent and Christmas. With this book you can truly prepare for Christ's birth.
Rachel Dawson
Dec 31, 2016 Rachel Dawson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-rad-reads, faith
I found out about this book from Emily Freeman's post of advent book suggestions here, and I knew I would love it as soon as I saw it. So many of my favorite writers were included in this book (Lewis, Merton, Dillard, etc.) and it was a thoughtful, intentional, not fluffy daily dose of reading that I really enjoyed throughout advent, Christmas, and even after. This is a GOOD one. Highly recommend.
Katelyn Powers
Dec 01, 2015 Katelyn Powers rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I can't even finish this book. It's TERRIBLY dry.
I got it last year from the publisher, but we were so near Christmas that I didn't get a chance to start. However, I was happy to do it this year!
But it's not very good at all. Some of the chapters are interesting, but for the most part - I have no idea what they're talking about. And I don't feel any more enriched or more in communion with God by having read nearly half of it.

I tried. I really did try.
Nov 30, 2014 Karolin rated it it was amazing
An excellent selection of poems and prose from various writers throughout the centuries, all centered around the themes of Advent. There are very short and very long passages, ranging from simple to challenging writing, although it would be fair to say all are challenging to the contemplative soul, as one prepares for the celebration of the first Advent. Re-reading now for the third time. I love this book so much.
Dec 22, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional
I've had this book for several years. It has dated entries for every day of Advent, from the earliest possible first day, November 24, through the day after Epiphany, January 7. I have never read more than a handful of readings prior to this year. Beginning on December 2, I've read every one so far, and discovered so many gems, from writers both contemporary and historic. An excellent anthology to dip into, or use as a devotional.
Abby Ophus
Nov 09, 2015 Abby Ophus rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed and benefited from this Advent devotional this year. I love the length of it, spanning from November 24th through January 7th (Epiphany). The readings were varied and helped me see the Christmas story and Advent season with new eyes and refreshed me when the commercial side of the season left me feeling sad. The Bonhoeffer, Lewis, and Yancey essays were three standouts that I loved. I will use this devotional again in the future.
J. Ewbank
May 26, 2015 J. Ewbank rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-good-read, religion
This book contains readings from world recognized Christian people who have written thrugh the centuries. Most of them are fairly current but not all of them. what a wonderful selection of readings for Advent and Christmas. I enjoyed them.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
Nov 25, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This is a very good collection of readings for Advent. The selections include poetry, sermons, and various essays. A wide range of writers is included, from John Donne to Sylvia Plath. I like the variety in this book, which is what I expected from this excellent publisher.
Dec 15, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it
This is a very good book of thoughtful Advent and Christmas devotionals authored by a fairly wide range of writers. These devotionals range from 4-10 pages in length. I'll read these again next year. Recommended.
Dec 27, 2010 Lorna rated it really liked it
This is an excellent addition to your Advent season traditions. It was recommended to me by one of my professors at Wheaton and I have been delighted by time I spent reading this devotional this Christmas. I look forward to sharing its joy and wisdom with friends and family in the years to come.
Brenda Funk
Dec 16, 2014 Brenda Funk rated it really liked it
Good selection of Advent readings from many different authors. Enjoyed most of them, and of course, some more than others. Good resource to have on hand for the Advent season.
Jenni Simmons
Aug 25, 2007 Jenni Simmons rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advent
I pick up this collection every year during Advent & Christmas. I don't care for a few of the essays, but I love others.
Victor Gentile
Dec 06, 2014 Victor Gentile rated it it was amazing
Various authors in their new book “Watch For The Light” published by Plough Publishing House gives us Readings for Advent and Christmas.

From the back cover: From the world’s best-loved writers, a reading for every day of the holiday season.

Unparalleled both in concept and scope, this new collection of readings for Advent and Christmas offers wisdom, beauty and spiritual nourishment from a wide spectrum of classic and contemporary sources.

Containing a selection for each day of the Christmas seaso
Jalynn Patterson
Dec 04, 2014 Jalynn Patterson rated it it was amazing
About the Book:

Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season. Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has
C.E. Hart
Dec 17, 2014 C.E. Hart rated it liked it
Shelves: devotional, christmas
Advent…this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback.

Watch for the Light is an accommodating book for the Christmas season. It’s a collection of readings for each day of Advent (November 24th through January 7th) that takes the frazzle and stress out of the holiday preparations. The only thing we need to prepare is our hearts—not shopping, gifts, decorations, spending, or greeting cards, and many of these 50 daily devotions deliver a calmness and realization of the deeper m
Julius McCarter
Aug 19, 2014 Julius McCarter rated it it was amazing
Watch for the Light is now my favorite devotional for Advent and Christmas. It is an amazing collection from classic and contemporary authors that offers so many reasons to incorporate this book into your personal, family and even ecclesial Advent and Christmas traditions.

First, Watch for the Light contains such spiritual wisdom from the wide swaths of Christian tradition that its diversity contributes to its usefulness. I know of no Advent devotional that brings together such wise voices as Wi
Liz Terek
Dec 13, 2014 Liz Terek rated it it was amazing

‘Watch for the Light’ is a compilation of daily readings, dated from November 24th through January 7th. Advent is not always celebrated by every denomination & may be misunderstood by the general public. Regardless, every one of us needs to rewind, de-stress, & focus on the true meaning of the season. Jesus’ birth ushered in a time of hope & peace like never before. As we await His Second Coming, it’s time such as Christmas & Easter that allow us to reflect on the beauty & m
Nov 27, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, 2017
I enjoyed this selection of readings, and felt like they helped put the Advent and Christmas season into perspective for me beyond the hustle and bustle of gift buying and graduate student final exams. Some of the readings were a bit "theological" for me, and I had a hard time getting through them, but others were wonderful. It was especially nice having a brief background on each day's author, putting their words into context of the author's life. For me, it was great reading stands alone, as w ...more
Jan 04, 2015 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In our crazy world of commercialization, at the holiday season, it's nice to have a peaceful respite, a place to go for recharging.
This Christmas season we chose this book, Watch for the Light, to read at Advent and through the Christmas holiday season. We were not familiar with many of the authors but found new insight in reading from people we had never read from before.
These are not cutesy, little stories that small children would understand but they are more "meat and thought" that teenager
Dec 07, 2014 Tima rated it liked it
There are very few Advent devotionals out there. So the creators of this little book have picked from some well known authors and speakers and complied a devotional for every day of Advent. The purpose of the book is to bring the true reason for Christ's birth back into our thoughts as we celebrate this beautiful season.

First, I love the cover of this book. Also this is a pretty impressive line up of authors. Several of the devotionals touched my heart and convicted me to spend more time on the
Dec 24, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
I enjoyed this daily Advent anthology of devotions. It exposed me to some new theologians. My favorites being Alfred Delp and Philip Yancy. Old favorites are here with new-to-me pieces like Underhill, Pennington. Nouwen, Lewis, Kierkegard, Luther and Dillard. I especially enjoyed the time-warping that occurs as it skips around from contemporary writers like Norris to Medieval writer like St Thomas Aquinas. The types of readings are also varied from essays to sermon notes to poetry. A highlight w ...more
Linda Walters
Dec 09, 2014 Linda Walters rated it it was ok
Some of the writings come from people that I have heard of and some that I haven't. It does make for a good prep before the Christmas busyness and some would be good to share on Christmas as well. To remember the real reason of the season. This might even be a good tradition to start with older children or grandchildren. You could pull out pieces of wisdom from a chapter, ask questions or read a poem. Of course, it also makes a good gift for yourself or a good gift for others. It does have an ol ...more
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Thomas Aquinas (sometimes styled Thomas of Aquin or Aquino), was a Dominican friar and priest notable as a scholastic theologian and philosopher. He is honored as a saint and "Doctor of the Church" in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Aquinas lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between fai
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