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Observing the season of Advent as separate from that of Christmastide, according to author Tsh Oxenreider, is “a small but significant cultural resistance we can practice in our homes, minds, emotions, and relationships.” Oxenreider points out that no matter one’s past experience with Advent, it is a gift and an invitation “to move slowly and methodically, looking inward with honesty about your relationship with God incarnate.”

Shadow and Light consists of several features. An in-depth introduction covers the basics of the season of Advent and answers questions such as, “When is Advent? Why do we commemorate Advent? What is our posture for Advent? Who can commemorate Advent? How do we recognize Advent?”

The main body of the book is devotional in nature. The four weeks of Advent follow the themes of hope\expectation, faith\preparation, joy\anticipation, and peace\gratitude. Daily devotions include a meditation, a prayer reading from the Psalms, a contemplative question, a suggested song to listen to or sing, and recommended artwork that visually captures the themes of Advent and Christmas.

The third section of the book includes Scripture readings from the New Testament for each day of Advent and an explanation of the 12 Days of Christmas from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6.

With a deep sensitivity to the stress and strain of modern life, especially during the weeks leading up to Christmas, Oxenreider has written devotions that are accessible and adaptable to each person’s or family’s situation. The book would make an excellent gift when given before the beginning of Advent. (Harvest House Publishers)

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