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Watch for the Light

Readings for Advent and Christmas


Annie Dillard, Kathleen Norris and others

4.1 Stars on Goodreads Read Reviews

Selections from the world’s greatest spiritual writers provide inspiration for the most widely celebrated holiday of the year.


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About The Book

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Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there’s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season.

Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us – not only during Advent, but every day. Whether sampled at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase “holiday preparations” new depth and meaning.

Includes writings by John Donne, Meister Eckhart, Dorothy Day, T. S. Eliot, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Eberhard Arnold, G. M. Hopkins, Martin Luther, Edith Stein, Thomas Aquinas, Dorothee Soelle, Philip Yancey, and others.

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About The Authors

Jane Tyson Clement

Jane Tyson Clement (1917–2000) was a poet, writer, schoolteacher, and mother of seven. Read More

Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day was an American journalist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Day devoted her life to defending the downtrodden and serving Christ by serving the poor. Read More

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis, a British novelist, poet, and Christian apologist, has been called one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Read More

Óscar Romero

During his three years as archbishop of San Salvador, Óscar Romero became known as a fearless defender of the poor and suffering. Read More

Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey has been helping Christians answer tough questions ever since he first addressed the problem of pain in his 1977 book Where Is God When It Hurts? Read More

William H. Willimon

Will Willimon is a professor at Duke Divinity School and a retired United Methodist bishop. Read More

Eberhard Arnold

Eberhard Arnold was a theologian, educator, publisher, and community leader. Read More

Johann Christoph Arnold

A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, education, and end-of-life issues, Arnold was a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. Read More

J. Heinrich Arnold

Johann Heinrich Arnold is best known for his books which have helped thousands to follow Christ in their daily lives. Those who knew him best remember Arnold as a down-to-earth man who would warmly welcome any troubled person in for a cup of coffee and a chat. Read More

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

A German pastor and religious socialist, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt influenced theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Arnold, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman, and Karl Barth with his unconventional ideas about religion, faith, and the kingdom of God. Read More

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Unwilling to allow the church to compromise its most fundamental beliefs in the face of Nazism, Dietrich Bonhoeffer worked tirelessly to keep the true spirit of the church alive in Germany. His resistance cost him his life. Read More

Alfred Delp

As a condemned prisoner of Germany’s Third Reich, Jesuit priest Alfred Delp wrote letters and meditations from his prison cell expressing his struggles, victories, and convictions. His writings are still valued today for their clarity and direction. Read More

Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and spiritual writer. Read More

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Henri J. M. Nouwen was an internationally loved and renowned priest, professor, and author. He wrote more than forty books offering spiritual guidance and direction. Read More

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Table of Contents

  • Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt: Action in Waiting – Read an excerpt
  • Sylvia Plath: Black Rook in Rainy Weather
  • J. B. Phillips: The Dangers of Advent
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster: Meditation
  • Henri Nouwen: Waiting for God
  • Bernard of Clairvaux: In Defense of Humility
  • Kathleen Norris: Annunciation
  • Meister Eckhart: Where God Enters
  • St. Thomas Aquinas / Karl Rahner: The Divine Dawning
  • Isaac Penington: Concerning the Light
  • Madeleine L'Engle: A Sky Full of Children
  • Alfred Delp: The Shaking Reality of Advent
  • Loretta Ross-Gotta: To be Virgin
  • William Stringfellow: The Penitential Season
  • J. Heinrich Arnold / Edith Stein: From the Stable to the Cross
  • Philip Britts: Yielding to God
  • Jane Kenyon: Mosaic of the Nativity
  • John Howard Yoder: The Original Revolution
  • Emmy Arnold: Christmas Joy
  • Karl Barth: To Believe
  • Óscar Romero / William Willimon: The God We Hardly Knew
  • Johann Christoph Arnold: Be Not Afraid
  • Gail Godwin: Genealogy and Grace
  • Leonardo Boff: The Man Who Is God
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins / Evelyn Underhill: The Light of the World
  • Dorothy Day: Room for Christ
  • Brennan Manning: Shipwrecked at the Stable
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst
  • Romano Guardini: The Holy Mother
  • Annie Dillard: Bethlehem
  • Martin Luther: To You Christ is Born
  • St. John Chrysostom: The Mystery
  • Giovanni Papini: Ox and Ass
  • Dorothee Soelle: The Christmas Gospel
  • C. S. Lewis: The Grand Miracle
  • Gustavo Gutiérrez: Christ's History, and Ours
  • Philip Yancey: The Visited Planet
  • Jane Tyson Clement / Thomas Merton: The Time of No Room
  • Eberhard Arnold: When the Time was Fulfilled – Read an excerpt
  • Søren Kierkegaard: Only a Rumor
  • Ernesto Cardinal: The Wise Men
  • T. S. Eliot: The Journey of the Magi
  • John Donne: The Showing Forth of Christ
  • Gian Carlo Menotti: Love Alone
  • Jürgen Moltmann: The Disarming Child

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