Church Pension Group | Preparing Room

The Good Steward

Preparing Room: Advent Contemplation Resource

October, 2020

It’s hard to ignore the shortening days and cooler nights. Fall is around the corner, which means Advent is close behind. During this period, the faithful look forward to the arrival of Jesus and celebrate His coming (re)birth over the course of the four Sundays leading to Christmas. This time of watchful waiting creates opportunities for both preparation and reflection.

Preparing Room: An Advent Companion, now available from Church Publishing Incorporated, explores the Christian origin story holistically. Author Russell J. Levenson, Jr., blends and interprets scripture from all four gospels in order to create a more complete picture of the Christmas season.

Levenson approaches his subject matter from a personal place and encourages his readers to do the same. At the end of each chapter, he offers brief meditations that prompt a deeper contemplation of Advent and allow readers to connect the meaning of this holy season with their own lives.

Spiritual Illumination

A clear picture of the Christmas story can be difficult to find, experience, and celebrate, for a few reasons, Levenson writes, one being “competing voices.” The Church places “emphasis…on longing, expectation, and hope,” as well as “acknowledg[ment of] human sin, doubt, and the darkness of the world that makes it difficult for the Christ Child to make his way into our lives.” The cultural emphases on shopping, gift-giving, and decorations amplify the din.

Levenson’s intention is to show that the gospel accounts of the Christmas story work as “an invitation to put the brakes on those things that may not be as important as we once thought and instead hold fast to those things of infinite value,” he writes.

Meditation and Prayer

Each chapter in Preparing Room: An Advent Companion opens with Bible verses that Levenson then interprets. For example, in the chapter called “Magnifying Glass,” he examines the Song of Mary passage, which is often set to music.

The chapters close with questions meant to “prepare,” or “make room,” for spiritual awakening, such as, “How are you called to actually submit to our Lord? If you have noted your station before God, what holds you back from allowing God to magnify himself through you now?” A prayer focusing on the chapter’s material follows each opportunity for contemplation.

Levenson writes that he hopes his book will give readers a new perspective, one that acknowledges and embraces God’s love, as they “prepare room” for the Christ Child’s season of birth during Advent.