“The Season of the Nativity would be a wonderful addition to any church looking to reclaim the holiday season from the commercial Christmas machine that starts selling in October.”
A New Book by Sybil Macbeth
Part reflection, part intentional activity, Sybil MacBeth’s new book, The Season of the Nativity, offers readers the opportunity to experience the church seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany as a whole.
For years a self-professed “Advent Extremist,” Sybil MacBeth uses the six weeks from Advent through Epiphany as a time to be more intentional about preparing for and celebrating the Incarnation and what it means for our daily living beyond Christmas.
Building Faith asked some of our readers to review Season of the Nativity, with an eye to using it as an individual, with their family, or small-group. Their universal response was, “This is a beautiful book!”
MacBeth has been in the same place so many of us are: rushed, over-excited, and, at the close of Christmas Day, let down. Our reviewers said they hoped the practices in Season of the Nativity – breaking “Christmas” into its three components, slowing down preparation (and clean up), and including prayer and scripture, will allow for deeper enjoyment of our Great Gift. Most of these practices are short; MacBeth understands that we all live busy lives!
Each section, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, includes an historical view of the season, with a bit of theology, scripture, and hymnody. The follow-on chapter includes a variety of opportunities to put the meaning of the season into practice, from daily practices to one-shot deals. Practices include both action and reflection, encouraging deeper understanding. Activities range from reading and drawing to prayers in motion and activities that engage the needs of your community.
Who is this Book For?
Some of these ideas will work well in a church setting; others are better suited for individual and family use. One reviewer is looking forward to discussing the book with her parenting group, and then sharing the chosen activities on social media. Another appreciated that each season includes gentle ways to educate not only self and family, but also friends and family. Each reviewer is looking forward to celebrating more deeply the individual seasons.
All of our reviewers said that the ideas in this book could be used year after year. Some practices would become family traditions, others could be incorporated as children grow and families change. Season of the Nativity would be a wonderful addition to any church looking to reclaim the holiday season from the commercial Christmas machine that starts selling in October and drops off completely after the packages are opened on December 25th.
If you are considering working towards intentional discovery of the Nativity, you will want to purchase and begin to read the book before Advent begins, as you will need the time to gather materials and choose practices for Advent, which this year begins on November 30th.
Season of the Nativity is available from Paraclete Press. Our thanks to our reviewers, Emily Ekegren, Angie Goral, and Anne Shelton.
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