Everyone forgets Advent, Christians lament as they feel the assault of yet another holiday song on their battered spiritual senses. We seek ways of carving out a space for the preparation of our hearts. We want to find nooks in which to hide for contemplation, even if only for a bit. This year, I picked up a new book of daily meditations for Advent, Prepare the Way, by Dr. Ronald Thomas. First Things readers might know him as the husband of our favorite home-schooling poet, Sally Thomas, but he is also assistant professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College. A former Anglican and Methodist clergyman, Thomas crafts meditations that exhort without being preachy. They challenge the reader and lift him up. They don’t seek to plumb the depths of the great theological mysteries; rather, they offer a nugget to chew on throughout a busy day. Take, for example, his offering for one day last week:
Among the things we are waiting for this Advent is death. . . .
Advent is a time in which the end of the world is expected—Jesus’ promised return—but for most of us, the world will end in another way; we die. For most of us, Jesus’ return to our sight will happen in this manner, even though we really hope for the cosmic event of His return. . . .
Advent is the time when we learn for certain that if death comes for us, it does not come aloe. The Lord comes to meet us, as well. For Christians this is a marvelous hope and release. It is almost as if Easter comes in winter.
There is more like that on evangelization, the significance of St. Lucy, the Feeding of the 5,000, and Christ’s shattering of progressive utopianism. In addition, each meditation is accompanied by a beautiful image from the catalog of great western art. If you need something to help prepare for Christ’s coming and shoo schmaltzy music away, consider seeking out Dr. Thomas.