Most years, I let Advent get away from me because I am focusing too much on the stuff of Christmas rather than preparing for the coming of the Christ. At the suggestion of my spiritual director, this year I sought the assistance of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, and it made all the difference.
Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen edited by Judy Bauer is a collection of wisdom from Sheen’s books formatted as a devotional. Bauer breaks up the book in three parts: readings for Advent, readings for Christmas, and a format for night prayer and reading.
In the Readings for Advent, there are 28 days, since that is the longest Advent can be. Each day includes a Scripture passage taken from or related to the daily readings, a passage from one of Sheen’s books, and a prayer — I presume — written by Bauer. It is on two facing pages so it requires only a few moments each day.
Readings for Christmas follow the same format but there are of course only 12 days.
In the last part — Format for Night Prayer — Bauer presents the outline for using this book with the Liturgy of the Hours – Night Prayer.
I found Bauer’s format to be easy to use and her selections of Sheen’s work to be excellent is helping me to consider the many mysteries that are presented during Advent and Christmas. For those who have never read any of Sheen’s work, this book gives a good introduction to his style and approach. I am looking forward to using this book again next Advent, and I would encourage you to consider it as well.