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Gertrud Nelson has written a book on ritual that is one of a kind. Her exquisitely written volume covers the history, psychology and spirituality of ritual in general and Christian ritual in particular. Enlivened by pithy and insightful examples, many of them drawn from her own family life, Ms. Nelson penetrates to the heart of the meaning of ritual and ceremony in a fresh way. She manages to escape the trap of many writers on this subject--superficial piety--and makes relevant for the modern reader the importance of ritual for connecting us to the meaning and flow of life. I would not have thought in today's rationalistic age that the ceremonies of life could be made vital again as cogently and splendidly as has been don in this book. Sometimes even single sentences speak volumes: 'It is Advent, and we, a people, are pregnant.' This is a book to be read carefully, perhaps only a few pages a day. Reading the book can become a ritual, especially for Christian people to whom it is primarily addressed. Beautiful illustrations by the author add to the expressiveness of this carefully composed work. This book may prove to be a classic treatment of the meaning of ritual for this modern era. --John Sanford.