Fr. Albert Holtz, a Benedictine monk of Newark Abbey in New Jersey, provides in From Holidays to Holy Days down-to-earth meditations for Advent - one for each day of Advent up to the Christmas Octave, New Year’s Day. He bases these meditations on walks through his Newark neighborhood, connecting them with Advent and Christmas themes which include the Scriptures, symbols like the Christmas tree, the Advent wreath, and more.
This book’s uniqueness lies in its mixing secular scenes with religious explanations and meditations. The background and meanings of many Christmas symbols background and meanings have been lost, leaving many to take them for granted. Why do we have Christmas trees, poinsettias, wrapping paper, candy canes, and the like? From Holidays to Holy Days helps the reader focus more upon the Advent and Christmas seasons and avoid being overwhelmed by the consumerism and other distractions that overshadow the reason we celebrate Christmas: as the old saying goes, “Christ is the reason for the season.” Those looking for something to re-focus their minds and spirits on Christ during this holiday season will find this book worthwhile.
After a page or two for each meditation, Holtz provides a short reflection followed by a Scripture quote, long or short, to ponder on. He concludes with a quote from various Monastic Fathers and Mothers, especially from the Rule of St. Benedict.
Fr. Albert Holtz, O.S.B teaches in the Newark monastery’s prep school and served as a retreat master around the United States. He is the author of Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey through Lent (2006), Street Wisdom (2003), Downtown Monks: Sketches of God in the City (2000), and A Saint on Every Corner (1998).