The Advent of Color: a coloring book review (and music too).

The most nerve-wracking time of the year with the hurlyburly, hustle & bustle of the holiday season. We are busied by shopping, baking,  Christmas parties, concerts and events. Great stuff but we are a harried people. This Advent, Paraclete Press offers the Advent Coloring Calendar as a daily coloring book to ‘bless and de-stress through the season.’ The calendar is available à la carte or paired with music—  with Beloved Carols or with Gregorian Chant.

the-advent-coloring-calendarThere is a coloring sheet for each day of December leading up to Christmas and six coloring sheets for the Christmas season. Each daily design has  a number for the corresponding day and a design. Paired with the coloring sheet is a verse or inspirational quote related to the season.

This is marketed as an adult coloring book and is a great way to slow yourself down to enter to the sacred season. On the other hand, the coloring sheets are not so ornate that children and youth can’t enjoy them as well. I think it is a wonderful way for youth and children to engage in Advent together.

What about the music?

As I said, the book is available with one of two companion CDs, both performed by Gloriæ Dei Cantores under the direction of Elizabeth Patterson. The first option is called Keeping Christmas: Beloved Christmas Carols and the Christmas story. The second option, is entitled The Coming of Christ and contains performances of Gregorian chant and pipe organ works of composerkeeping-christmass Alexander Guilmant and Charles-Marie Widor.

Keeping Christmas (2010) is like listening in on a Lessons and Carols service. Gloriæ Dei Cantores performs carols and Christmas anthems. Interspersed are readings from Matthew’s gospel.  Many of these carols are familiar, old favorites, though a number are
new to me.  The Coming of Christ (2002), combines Gregorian chant and organ music.  The familiarity of the first CD  the English lyrics and the format of readings and songs makes it a more engaging presentation; however the Gregorian chant and organ is beautiful, especially as background music. The chants are in Latin (translated in the linear notesthe-coming-of-christ
). Both CDs are meditative. If I had to choose between the two CDs, I think the Coming of Christ is pretty incredible.

If you are looking for something to do through December for Advent, this is a really fun option.

Note: I received a copy of the Advent Coloring Calendar and companion CDs in exchange for my honest review. If you would like a free excerpt, you can download it here.

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