Q. How many days per week will I be reading?
A. Four, but see the next question.
Q. I know I’ll be crazy busy during the next weeks. How can I fit this study into my life?
A. Just read as many days as you can. Maybe this is simply the first day every week. Choose a verse from that day’s reading, write it on a sticky note, and carry it throughout your week. Use it as you pray. Sometimes I find that really meditating on one verse impacts my life more than trying to cram in several chapters.
Q. Can I get a sneak peak into the book before I buy it?
A. I will be posting the daily readings, beginning on November 19. You can also peek inside the book using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. (For me, this feature does not show up on my phone, but it does on my laptop.)
Q. If I want to read this during the weeks of Advent, when do I start?
A. In 2017, you’ll start reading on Sunday, November 19. You’ll read the two Faithfulness Weeks and then you’ll begin the Advent Weeks on the first Sunday of Advent which is December 3 this year. You can skip the Faithfulness Chapters and jump right into Advent if it’s already that time of the year.
Q. I looked at the calendar, and if I follow this schedule in 2017, I won’t read the fourth Week of Advent at all! The Fourth Sunday of Advent is Christmas Eve!
A. You’re right! This is one of the things I love about following the traditional Advent schedule. It teaches us to surrender–to let things go. It reminds us that we have no control over time–we can only live for God today, trusting him with the past as well as the future. Interestingly, the fourth week of Advent is the week we would focus on Mary–a woman who truly knew how to surrender.
Q. I see so many readings for Christmas Day! I am far too busy on Christmas Day to read! I have pies to bake and relatives to call/avoid/feed! I have gifts to wrap for my cat!
A. Don’t read them all. Reading God’s Word is an important part of our Christian lives, but there are other important things too: family and friends and celebration and just plain taking a break. This study is not designed to give you guilt; it’s just here when you need it. You can always pull it out the second week of January when you are wondering how in the world Christmas break passed so quickly.
Q. Why is the book only 83 pages long?
A. I designed it to be a guide through a selection of Scriptures. I want you to spend more time in your Bible than in my book. However, I am really going to live with this book over the next months, using it during Advent and Christmas, in preparation for a longer second edition. I dream of a guided journal format, with simple design elements for those who like to doodle and color while they pray.
Q. How can I read this with my study group?
A. Read the first day of each chapter together at a weekly meeting. Read the other days at home. Sing the hymns and carols together. Join my facebook group (search for “Light for a Dark Season”) and discuss with other readers.
Q. Where did you find the schedule for the readings in the Advent Weeks and later?
A. I was looking for Advent scripture readings. I read a few comments in Amazon reviews about books that jumped right into the Christmas story before Christmas, skipping Advent. I didn’t want to skip Advent. I wanted to build a foundation in my heart for Christmas. My own church has been spreading their Christmas program over three weeks, and last year they followed a similar schedule: first the patriarchs, then the prophets, then Mary and Joseph. I liked spreading the story out.
I realize that I could have made my own schedule of Old Testament promises, psalms, and promises of Jesus’ return. But a schedule already existed, and because I was trying to find what a traditional Advent involved, I decided to use it. Why reinvent tradition? I found websites hosted by Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, and Anglicans all using almost exactly the same schedule. I specifically used lectionarypage.net, lectionarylibrary.vanderbilt.edu, and hymnary.org. I occasionally gave us a few extra verses to read so that we read an entire psalm, or we get a little of the context of the verses.
Q. How did you get your book on Amazon? How long did that take? What did it cost?
A. I used their CreateSpace program. I uploaded a Word document and a .pdf cover. Amazon took about 24 hours to approve it (they make sure all the words fit inside the margins and that the font is something they can print.) I ordered a proof for about $18, including rush shipping. It arrived in about 10 days. The cover looked great. I edited a few things on the inside document and uploaded it again. Amazon again took about 24 hours to approve it. This time I did not order the proof. I looked at the digital proof, and I pushed the “Approve” button. Within a few hours, the book was available on amazon.com. I ordered a copy and it arrived in 2 days.
Somewhere in the process, I got to set the price. They showed me the rock bottom amount that they would charge for the book, and I decided that $5 was a nice round number for the online price. I think I make about 85 cents per book. My only costs to publish were the $18 proof and the $5 hard copy I ordered after I approved it.
Photo Credit: John Gonsalves