Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Advent Book Reviews II - Paula Gooder "The Meaning is in the Waiting"

Paula Gooder’s The Meaning is in the Waiting, which takes its title from R. S. Thomas’s poem “Kneeling”, opens with a reflection on waiting in which she considers the notion of active waiting, and probes not only what it might mean in Advent to wait and prepare for the future, but also to await an event that has already taken place.

After this detailed but accessible introduction, Gooder offers 24 meditations grouped around the biblical figures associated with the candles on the Advent wreath. She examines in turn Abraham and Sarah, the Prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary, and observes the centrality of waiting in their various stories. Shrewd observations and intelligent commentary are offered with a lightness of touch, so that the reader is drawn gently but compellingly to re-examine familiar texts and find in them fresh insights to ponder.

The Meaning is in the Waiting is probably best suited to individuals who are prepared to draw out the full implications of these meditations for themselves, and will appeal less to those who are looking for more prescriptive material this Advent. It is an exceedingly good book, and well worth waiting with.