Friday, November 14, 2008

Advent Book Reviews IV - Albert Holtz OSB "From Holidays to Holy Days"

From Holidays to Holy Days by Albert Holtz OSB provides daily meditations from Advent Sunday until New Year’s Day. Each meditation is followed by a suggested point for reflection, and quotations from the Bible and early monastic sources, in particular the Rule of St Benedict.

Beginning with the Benedictine principle that God is present everywhere, Holtz challenges his readers to see God in the trappings of popular culture. As he walks around his home town of Newark, New Jersey, during Advent and Christmas, he sees reminders of the parousia in street decorations, and of the messianic banquet in Christmas meals.

By finding pointers to God in the world around him, he challenges the assumption that apparently worldly celebrations of Christmas must stand in opposition to the Church’s keeping of Advent and Christmas. As such, this is a helpful book for those who are bothered by what may appear to be secularisation.

At times, Holtz’s insights are crowded out by over-use of the first person, and more personal detail than is helpful. Also occasional grammatical and typographical flaws mar the text, which is otherwise well presented, and accompanied by the author’s illustrations.