For our final post on preparing for the new Church Year, we will talk about some suggestions for further reading and practice. I’ve divided them into three categories. Some are my own suggestions, others have come from IM readers.
- Books that give an overview of the Church Year to help individuals, families, and churches grasp its basic concepts and begin participating in Church Year spirituality.
- Books that can aid believers in conforming their daily prayer and devotional lives to the framework of the seasons of the Church Year.
- Books and resources that focus specifically on the upcoming Advent season, so that we can get a good start this year.
What criteria did I use in selecting these resources? First, I am recommending books that I myself have found useful. Second, others are on my own “Wish List” because I have seen them and they look intriguing to me. Third, I am suggesting links to other resources because I have used some related materials (but not all) and have found them helpful. These may enable those in different seasons of life (for example, with young children) to find additional resources to meet specific needs.
Each of us is unique, so you will have your favorites and some of mine may not resonate as deeply with you. If any in our iMonk community would like to make additional suggestions, please feel free to do so.
My best recommendation for you would be to join a faith community that practices Church Year spirituality. As I will argue in my next post, this pattern is designed to enable Christians to experience his life, death, and resurrection not only as individuals, but also together with one another in God’s family. If you are part of such a community now, you should take your first counsel from the ministers and mentors in your own tradition, for each stream of the Christian faith has its own emphases and detailed practices. Your local church or denominational publishing house may be able to guide you more specifically than I can here.
Short of that, I recommend starting with incorporating a few simple Advent practices in your personal devotional life and/or with your family. Using an Advent calendar or lighting Advent candles along with prayers for the season has helped many believers enter into the practices of the Church Year.
THE CHURCH YEAR (Overview)
Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year, by Robert Webber
The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, by Kimberlee Conway Ireton
The New Handbook of the Christian Year: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary, by Hoyt Hickman, et al
The Services of the Christian Year (Complete Library of Christian Worship, Vol 5), Robert Webber, editor
Copies available through Amazon links to other vendors
Children’s Activities for the Christian Year, by Delia Halverson
Find other resources at Anglicans Online
Roman Catholic resources from Liturgical Training Publications:
- The Year of Grace in the Lord, by Moine De L’Eglise D’Orient and D. Cowen
DAILY PRAYER/DEVOTIONS (arranged according to the Church Year)
Treasury of Daily Prayer, by Scot A. Kinnaman
The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle
Various editions available for seasons of the year and occasions.
- The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime
- The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime
- The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime
- Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours
- Eastertide: Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours
- This Is What I Pray Today: Divine Hours Prayers For Children
- The Divine Hours, Pocket Edition
- The Night Offices: Prayers for the Hours from Sunset to Sunrise
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne
Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, by Bobby Gross
Eternal Seasons: A Spiritual Journey Through the Church’s Year, by Henri Nouwen
The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, by Madeline L’Engle
We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent Wreath, by Catharine Brandt
Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World?, by Rick McKinley
Various resources for churches wanting to follow this approach to keeping Advent/Christmas are available at the Advent Conspiracy website.
The Winter Pascha, by Fr. Thomas Hopko.
Living With Hope: A Scientist Looks at Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany – John Polkinghorne
Sermons to the People: Advent, Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany – St. Augustine
No Trace of Christmas ? : Discovering Advent in the Old Testament – Christoph Domen
• • •
I hope these resources will give us all a good start at going deeper into understanding and practicing Church Year spirituality.