Resources: An Advent Sourcebook; A Christmas Sourcebook; To Crown the Year

An Advent Sourcebook, edited by Thomas J. O. O'Gorman, with art by Tom Goddard. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1988.170 pp.
A Christmas Sourcebook, edited by Mary Ann Simcoe. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1984. 157 pp.
To Crown the Year: Decorating the Church Year Through the Seasons, by Peter Mazar, withart by Evelyn Grala. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publicaions, 1995.297 pp. $19.00.

Here are three books from LTP (Liturgical Training Publications), a very active and creative Roman Catholic publisher of resources for local congregations. The first two books are new reprints of the very popular "Sourcebook Series," which has nine titles (the others are for Lent, Triduum, Easter, Baptism, Liturgy, Marriage, and Death). Each of these books presents brief quotations from Scripture and from different Christians throughout the ages, organized around themes within that season of the Christian Year. For example, the Advent book starts with "The Approach of Advent," with twenty-eight quotations from sources as diverse as Matthew, an early American hymn, Paul Tillich, Christina Rosetti, Walker Percy, Desert Wisdom, and T. S. Eliot. Worship planners will find many ideas for sermons, songs, prayers, and other parts of the service.

To Crown the Year is "a comprehensive, practical guide to decorating the house of the church, making it fit for worship." For each season of the Church Year, there is information about the signs of the season in nature, in Scripture, and "in the living tradition of the liturgy." Because this book comes out of the Roman Catholic tradition, there is much more here than a Reformed congregation would ever have experienced or even considered. But the wealth of ideas will help us to open our eyes when looking at our own worship spaces. We'll learn a lot about the Church Year, as well as how the use of worship space can teach us a lot without words.

Emily R. Brink (embrink@calvin.edu) is Senior Research Fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and former editor of Reformed Worship.