Celtic Advent by David Cole
This gem of a book features 40 meditations which study the lives of the Celtic saints and offers a truly refreshing way to prepare for Christmas
By David Cole
Bible Reading Fellowship
Reviewer: Martin Poole
Writing about Christmas, David Cole requests, at the outset, that the reader sits quietly and focuses on the coming season “not on all the busyness of what needs to be done, but on the spiritual significance of what is coming up”. The classic Martha / Mary situation where in the context of Christmas our “Marthaism” can go into overdrive!
David encourages us to incorporate 40 meditations in the days leading up to Christmas and profitably widens the scope of reflection to include three comings of Christ. So we are called to ponder the nativity narratives as Christ comes into the world, our own stories as we consider Christ coming into our lives and finally to look forward to Christ’s coming at the end of time.
The basis for the daily meditations is to be found in studying the colourful and single minded lives of the Celtic saints. So we are given insights into Brigid, Cuthbert, Aiden, Patrick, Cadoc and many more. Some not familiar with ancient Celtic heroes of the faith might struggle with the supernatural experiences recorded, like Dwynwen who “walked on water to get from Wales to Ireland” or Beuno “raising people from the dead by placing decapitated heads back on their bodies”. However to ponder these tales against the magnificence of the incarnation is to prepare our hearts and dare to think outside the box of a post enlightenment scientific age.
We cannot also fail to be impressed by the Celtic saints who are described as having lived lives of “holy brilliance” - the generosity of Brigid, or the tenacity of Patrick, invite us to ask the question - what sort of persons should we be in leading lives of holiness and godliness? One area where most of the “Celtics” excel is in finding space to meet with God and this intriguing book undoubtedly can lead us there too.
Celtic Advent is an invaluable aid to countering the swirling currents which are poised to liquefy the foundational doctrine and glorious celebration of God taking on flesh. This gem of a book offers a truly refreshing way to prepare for Christmas.
The Revd Martin Poole is a retired Baptist minister (Penarth, Godalming and Eastleigh Baptist Churches)