Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent

By Enuma Okoro

Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent is a beautifully written devotional guide for each day of Advent.  Included at the end are a guide for small groups and meditations for candle-lighting services.

Silence takes a somewhat different slant on Advent by focusing attention on the longings and doubts of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist.  From the Preface:  "Theirs is a story of accustomed longing and unmet desire, sustained prayer, occasional doubt, and seasons of silent retreat and seclusion.  We can learn much about the tensions of a genuine faith journey from the trials and surprises that Zechariah and Elizabeth encountered in their attempts to live before God.  And we can learn about the mercy and faithfulness of a God who acts in God's own timing and for God's wider purposes."

My church doesn't emphasize the observance of Advent, but I have come to value this time of being still before the Lord in waiting and anticipation.  In the midst of hectic and often stressful weeks leading up to Christmas, Silence takes us deeper than most Advent devotionals that I've seen, encouraging us in the practice of contemplative prayer.  "Advent is a season to ponder, to listen, to understand that prayer is as much about cultivating stillness and attentiveness as it is about offering our words to God." 

In the final week, as we rejoice in the miracle and gift of God's Son, Okoro writes:  "Jesus' birth invites us to lay down our concerns for a moment and kneel with awe and thanksgiving at the faithfulness and love of God.  The longer we gaze upon Jesus, the more we realize that life as we know it can no longer remain the same.  The wait for Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary is over, but their trust in God is just beginning. . . . Our adoration of the Christ child must lead to obedience and devotion."  - From Day 24

For anyone looking for an Advent devotional with depth and sensitivity, I highly recommend Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent.

This book was provided by Upper Room through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Hi just over from goodreads, I too do book reviews on a small blog-hard to get big following it seems, keep trying some of the goodreads folks have chimed in on mine. I love to read so thought writing about it next step to take. good luck with yours-I will follow.
    check out mine too

    Paula O(