December is the month to slow down a bit (in between hectic shopping sprees, at least). Here are 10 gems from our catalogue dealing with spirituality – and with Christmas, of course.
In today’s world, it can be difficult to let mind and body come to rest. Why not find inspiration in The Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius Loyola. Written in 1548, he gives a plan of contemplation to be carried out over a month.
Frances Ridley Havergal does something similar with her own book except that it’s for kids this time. Wake up your little ones with little devotional Morning Bells every day.
A German tradition beloved by kids and adults alike is the Adventskalender. Every day until Christmas, you open one door of it to see what’s behind. Usually, you’ll find chocolates, but ours is filled with poems, short stories, songs…
Speaking of tradition, one of the best loved recordings for Christmas here on LibriVox is E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nußknacker und Mausekönig, which we have in several translations (into English and French). Add the adaptation by Alexandre Dumas (in French and Spanish) on which Tchaikovsky’s ballet was based, and you know why you shouldn’t miss reading this story!
At Sir John’s Penlyon Castle, something is found missing during the preparations for Christmas. But his friend Mr. Danby has an idea – and this is how three kids turn into The Christmas Hirelings. Find out what this job entails in the story by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
A young newspaperman gets the job to interview his wealthy neighbor who lives alone and just started the habit of talking to himself… Booth Tarkington tells a story full of mystery leading up to Mr. Beasley’s Christmas Party.
Even if you’re not religious, you may agree with Hugh Black that “Friendship in its essence is spiritual.” He elaborates for example on the importance of friends, how to choose them, and what the limits of friendship are.
Christmas is the time to surround yourself with friends and family, but sometimes, this is not possible. In the short story The Dead, James Joyce tells about how people who are long gone may still affect our lives.
The Ancient Egyptians were concerned with the opposite: How the living could aid the deceased in their journey to the underworld. Their Book of the Dead – here translated by E. A. Wallis Budge – prescribes exactly what to do.
Another “How-to” goes back to Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. See what is still valid today in the philosophical play The Priest and His Disciples by Hyakuzo Kurata, where Shinran encounters a poor family and discusses with them how to lead a good life.
Enjoy – and Merry Christmas for you all!