In the excitement of the weeks before Christmas, it is all too easy to overlook the fact that Christians have, down the centuries, regarded Advent as a season of penitence, a time of prayer and preparation for the great feast of the birth of Jesus, just as Lent is a season of preparation for Easter, when we remember his death and resurrection.
This book of daily Bible readings and reflective comment covers the weeks from 1 December through to Epiphany on 6 January. As well as considering the well-known events of the nativity story, it looks back to those who prepared the way – the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament and John the Baptist and Mary the mother of Jesus in the New Testament. The book also explores the traditional Advent focus on the ‘four last things’, death, judgment, heaven and hell. Rodney Holder shows how these sombre themes have their place in the build-up to the celebrations, because of another historic aspect of Advent: reflecting on the second coming of Jesus, when he will return, as Lord and King rather than helpless baby, to set the world to rights.