Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, the start of those four weeks of anticipation before Christmas. Traditionally it’s a time of penitence as people remember the preparation of Mary for the birth of her child, and orthodox Christians likewise prepare for the second coming of Christ. Personally, penitence in the weeks approaching Christmas is a hard sell, but I appreciate the season considering my own horror at the triumph of consumerism over every aspect of human lives, and look to honor the spirit of Advent in some way. I’m ordering an interlibrary loan on Being Consumed, and have checked out a collection of Advent meditations by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
More immediately, I’m reading a biographical novel of Joan of Arc by Samuel Clemens (of all people!), and then…well, who knows? I’ve changed my Great War reading plans for this month up a bit; since reviews of the Christmas truce novel I was thinking about are so poor, I’ll be reading about the British home front instead. Reviews are pending for a handful of books, including a collection of short stories by Wendell Berry and a work in southern history. I probably won’t be commenting on A Fatal Advent, a murder mystery I picked up yesterday. Someone keeps stealing things and lethally whacking people on the head with Scotch tape dispensers in an Anglican church, and at the last the main character walks in on the perpetrator threatening another character with murder. There’s no sleuthing and the only thing of interest is the main character’s occupation: though ordained, she works as a counselor attached to the church.
My hope for myself and you is that we all stay grounded in what will come a frenetic season of shopping, partying, and other activities. Good luck!