Enuma Okoro is a writer, speaker, and retreat leader. She graduated from Duke University Divinity School and served as director of the Center for Theological Writing there. She is the author of *Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert's Sesarch for Spiritual Community** and coauthor, with Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, of *Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.** Okoro's work has been featured on *Good Morning America**'s Spirituality page and in *The Christian Century.**
Silence-And Other Surprising Invitations of Adventby Enuma Okoro
“The Advent story we so often associate with the joy of Christmas actually begins with deep
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Usually when we think of the Advent story, Mary, Joseph, and the angel Gabriel come to mind. Okoro approaches Advent a little differently, inviting us to sit for a while with Zechariah and Elizabeth and the story of how they came to bear their only son, John.
“The Advent story we so often associate with the joy of Christmas actually begins with deep sorrow and longing. But thankfully, in the kingdom of God, there is always more to the story than meets the eye,” Enuma Okoro writes.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were good people. They had maintained faith and hope in God for many years, despite Elizabeth’s inability to conceive, a condition considered shameful in their time. So they were quite familiar with the universal human experiences of longing and waiting. Even though this couple’s story takes up only one chapter in Luke’s Gospel, it contains enough lessons about faith and life to last for weeks.
In her beautifully written, imaginative meditations for each day of Advent, Okoro looks closely at the doubts and longings of Zechariah and Elizabeth. As you explore their story, Okoro guides you to reflect on your own experiences of waiting and longing, of grief and the need for community, and of hungering for God.
These poetic and poignant meditations will linger with you long after Christmas. Reflection questions and a prayer challenge accompany each week’s meditations. A perfect book for individual or group study.
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- Upper Room Books
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Advent: the perfect antidote to the excess of American Christmas. This is a wonderful book that will help you shift your gaze from the temporal to the eternal. I highly recommend it.
"Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent" is a beautifully written devotional guide for each day of Advent. Included at the end are a guide for small groups and meditations for candle-lighting services. "Silence" takes a somewhat different slant on Advent by focusing attention on the longings and doubts of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. From the Preface: "Theirs is a story of accustomed longing and unmet desire, sustained prayer, occasional doubt, and seasons of silent retreat and seclusion. We can learn much about the tensions of a genuine faith journey from the trials and surprises that Zechariah and Elizabeth encountered in their attempts to live before God. And we can learn about the mercy and faithfulness of a God who acts in God's own timing and for God's wider purposes." My church doesn't emphasize the observance of Advent, but I have come to value this time of being still before the Lord in waiting and anticipation. In the midst of hectic and often stressful weeks leading up to Christmas, "Silence" takes us deeper than most Advent devotionals that I've seen, encouraging us in the practice of contemplative prayer. "Advent is a season to ponder, to listen, to understand that prayer is as much about cultivating stillness and attentiveness as it is about offering our words to God." In the final week, as we rejoice in the miracle and gift of God's Son, Okoro writes: "Jesus' birth invites us to lay down our concerns for a moment and kneel with awe and thanksgiving at the faithfulness and love of God. The longer we gaze upon Jesus, the more we realize that life as we know it can no longer remain the same. The wait for Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary is over, but their trust in God is just beginning. . . . Our adoration of the Christ child must lead to obedience and devotion." - From Day 24 For anyone looking for an Advent devotional with depth and sensitivity, I highly recommend "Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent." This book was provided by Upper Room through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.