Sybil MacBeth writes that Advent and Epiphany are the often-neglected parentheses around Christmas. And they deserve more attention and better publicity. This Season of the Nativity sets the stage the liturgical year, our yearlong journey through Scripture and salvation history. Sybil MacBeth’s memoir, front-porch theology, and pages of practices and activities invite individuals and families to enjoy this season in a way that has more peace and more Christ and less chaos and guilt. She offers simple tools for busy people Ð perhaps to reclaim a joyful and yes, serious nativity season for the first time.
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“This gorgeous book is going to remain at my reading chair, dog-eared and bookmarked, all through the Yuletide season. It will also be under the tree of just about everyone on my gift list. We will all have more interesting winters, and greater intimacy with Jesus, because of it.”
—Lauren F. Winner, author of Still and Mudhouse Sabbath
“This beautifully designed book caters to those of us for whom waiting for Christmas is the very best part about the holidays. With activities like Advent calendars, games, doodles, carols, and my personal favorite—“flaunting the color purple”—Sybil MacBeth helps us see the Nativity as an entire season stretching from Advent through Epiphany, each day an opportunity for Technicolor grace.”
—Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and Flunking Sainthood Every Day
“With heart-open honesty, Sybil MacBeth opens the door to a new exploration of the three-part Nativity Season. With personal and family-friendly practices and her appealing approach, Sybil invites both seasoned Christians and curious seekers to prepare in Advent, nestle into Christmas, and wonder anew in Epiphany. Extremist? Not really, but perhaps the leader of a new awakening.
—Connie Denninger is a retreat leader, teacher of prayer and spiritual disciplines, and advocate of the Arts in Christian practice.
Sybil MacBeth’s genius is for getting the grand themes – like prayer and yearning and waiting and birth and joy – into real life. She starts with scripture and tradition and solid theology and ends up right on the kitchen table or living room (where children and adults
alike are actually enjoying one another). As an on-the-ground parish priest, I want this book in every home of every parishioner. That’s because I know they want what I want – not to dread the approach of Christmas and feel inadequate in its wake – but to truly experience God’s great activity before, during and after in a way that’s full of pleasure and meaning. This book lines out the very concrete path from the wish to the reality.
—Rev Carleton Bakkum, Episcopal priest and Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown, VA. Also an artist
As Luther translated Scripture in the language of the people, Sybil Macbeth’s Seasons of the Nativity translates the Church’s ancient Incarnation liturgy into the every day lives of God’s children of every age.
If you adopt any of Sybil MacBeth’s suggestions for observing the Church’s liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany–watch out! You may find yourself holding the ChristChild in a whole new way–that may change your life and the lives of those around you!
Whether its Praying in Color or her latest work, Seasons of the Nativity, Sybil MacBeth makes the mysterious things of God (prayer) and the Church (liturgy) accessible to everyone.
In her book, Seasons of the Nativity, Sybil MacBeth moves liturgy into action as she provides meaning-full ways to anticipate and expect, welcome and receive, enjoy and cherish the gift of Jesus in the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
—The Rev. Dr. John R. Denninger, Bishop/President, Southeastern District, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod