Advent Book Club, Week One

So here’s the deal. A few of us are reading this during Advent.The book was suggested by Ged, so thank you for that. Pam’s doing a good job of leading us, posting a reflection each day. Other people are also posting more or less daily about this (Richard, Andy, Bex). And I know there are others out there reading along. I think the best I can guarantee is a weekly post bringing some of these together, and a general reflection on the things I have noted. So, beer in hand, here goes.

Firstly, a point about the book – I think I like the brevity of the daily readings, as they give me enough to think about in depth in not-very-much time. The actions associated with each day, though, could take several hours in themselves and I am not therefore sure that I am going to be able to complete many of them… so far on day 8 I’ve managed, er, two.

So what have we thought, prayed or done this week…? Day one had us looking for signs of God…on a busy day of church bazaar and friends and London and Hope & Social. Did I spot any? Yes, I think I did: in love, in friendship and laughter, in music.

Day 2 was all about patience…Day 3 had us thinking about solitude, and since I’m mostly on my own I didn’t like that very much. Not all of us get a choice about our alone time. Day four the prayer confused me. But day five was one of those things that are like a four-foot high bloomin’ obvious reminder of things I should know, I should have ingrained as habit…reminding us to pray, to guard what we put into our minds and souls, to pray without ceasing.

Day 6 was interesting – how do we relate, and are we part of, a community? The Nouwen quote was different, but the reading felt similar to Day 5. The action – hanging apples to represent our failings we wish to avoid – led me to tweet one thing: “We’re going to need a bigger tree.”

Day 7… tough one… anger, greed and being dependent on the many distractions of the world… and the advent action, to take a day away is a challenge:

    I love the idea of taking a day out away from distractions but I don’t have time
    I love the idea of taking a day out away from distractions but I don’t have enough self discipline

Which is my most truthful response?

Which brings us to day 8, today. And it’s all about compassion, judgement, and finding the ‘seeds of harshness’ in ourselves. After my Friday at work I feel this one is written exactly for me…it’s a toughie; it involves looking at myself in a way I don’t want to, because it involves admitting faults and failings; it is easier to dislike and ignore a colleague than it is to stop judging and be compassionate. Monday’s going to be ‘interesting.’


  1. “I love the idea of taking a day out away from distractions but I am afraid.”

    Or it sounds that way to me. The world won’t end if you lose a day. The world won’t end if you book a quiet day or similar and end up feeling distracted rather than peaceful.

    Maybe I am talking to myself, here. But mine is on Tuesday.

  2. Ha, Kathyn – I ended up on Thursday essentially taking a day out. I have so much to do I just HAD to … I dozed, I re-read Harry Potter, and in the evening I felt I had the energy to sort out lots of little niggly things which has given my brain SOME space to be a bit more creative. Today I need to work, but allowing myself the morning to clear a few more things 🙂 I promised myself Durham was going to be a better work/life balance – not entirely there yet, but still seeking!!

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