Monday, 15 December 2008

Do nothing Christmas

I'm enjoying reading Stephen Cottrell's Do nothing Christmas and perhaps I should also treat myself in the New Year to Do Nothing to Change Your Life. Apparently in 2007, Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Reading, handed out egg-timers to commuters at his local train station to highlight the value of time spent in stillness.
I really appreciate his clear and simple prose and the carefully researched quotes. Writing with this kind of conciseness takes real discipline.

Each day’s reflections, which serve as prompts for quiet periods of rest and contemplation, conclude with practical suggestions for further thought, prayer or action – ranging from reviewing your charitable giving, to creating homemade gifts, seeking out vulnerable people who might be alone this Christmas, or bringing back family mealtimes. The accompanying website is here:

This ‘Advent calendar with a difference’ offering readers “another way of celebrating Christmas, where its joys and promises can help put life back together again” rather than risk it imploding with “all the conflicting demands and expectations” that the season can bring.

Far from a killjoy’s manifesto, the book’s brief, down-to-earth daily reflections take their cue from the trimmings and trappings of contemporary Christmas – from buying the turkey to the office Christmas party. Each ingredient of the modern Christmas is given a twist, encouraging readers to consider their preparations for Christmas in ‘slow motion’: to create time amid the Advent rush to rediscover the real joys of the festival by taking time to look afresh at how to prepare, and wait patiently, for the celebration of Christ’s birth.