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Christmas


Not a Bad Picture of Advent

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, pg 416

December Playlist: Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2016

Don’t rat me out to the Advent police — here’s this year’s Xmas mix.

Reckoning With the Advent Police

Reckoning With the Advent Police

I have long held off on writing an anathema against the Advent Police. Mostly because I know and love so many of them. I’ve kept silent about these well-meaning liturgical lawyers because I love the season of Christmas just as much as the next seminary nerd devout Christian. I love the anticipation, the colors, the music, and the theology.

Also, (and I know the liturgical lawyers might not readily cop to this feeling), Advent is wonderful because it is that rare time of year when we get to feel superior to all of those Christians/people who don’t know what Advent is. They…

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Generosity Devoid of Expectations

Generosity Devoid of Expectations

As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter the season when a lot of us start to think about volunteer opportunities for our family. Perhaps we’re trying to inoculate our children from the entitlement that can creep in with all those holiday gifts. Or perhaps we’re trying to give back in a spirit of gratitude for all we’ve been given. Or perhaps we’re trying to put some muscle where our money is, as we dole out charitable gifts before the end of the tax year. Whatever our reasons, this time of year seems to be when a lot of us look to…

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The Difference Between Christmas and Easter

The Difference Between Christmas and Easter

A few paragraphs from James Martin’s remarkable article in this past Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, “The Challenge of Easter”:

The Christmas story is largely nonthreatening to nonbelievers: Jesus in the manger, surrounded by Mary and Joseph and the adoring shepherds, is easy to take. As the Gospels of Matthew and Luke recount, there was no little danger involved for Mary and Joseph. But for the most part, it can be accepted as a charming story. Even nonbelievers might appreciate the birth of a great teacher.

By contrast, the Easter story is both appalling and astonishing: the craven betrayal of Jesus by one…

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Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

For those of you who’ve spent the holidays under a rock and have yet to participate in the global phenomenon that is The Force Awakens (or if you just don’t care), I promise that this little ditty contains no spoilers like the one some Sith Lord left on a stickie attached to my Han Solo mug.

Coming out of Star Wars, my youngest son asked me an interesting question: “Kylo Ren just really wanted to be bad, huh?” I thought it over for a moment and answered “no, he just really wanted to be powerful.” And this led me to an…

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Martin Luther vs. English Christmas Carols

Merry Happy Christmas!

The (Lost) Christian Origins of the The Elf Code by Buddy the Elf

The (Lost) Christian Origins of the The Elf Code by Buddy the Elf

Originally submitted in partial fulfillment of a degree in Tinker Training
&
Presented here for those who, like Jovie, share my affinity for elf culture*

I know you’re probably a human raised by humans. I, however, am a human raised by elves. Before journeying through the Candy Cane Forest and the Lincoln Tunnel on my embarrassingly public quest to find my dad (who was on the Naughty List!!!), I lived at the North Pole. I was training to be a tinker and trying to fit in as a toy-maker with my oversized yet under-nimble fingers. Discovering I was human was as shocking as…

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Home But Not Alone

Home But Not Alone

Every year I assign myself the arduous task of watching my favorite Christmas movies. No, really–it’s hard! ABC Family and AMC, between them, have helped simplify things with their impressive array of holiday fare: all that’s left for me is to check the listings and set the DVR. But watching has gotten more complicated as the years have gone by. While I was single, or first married, Love Actually radiated from the TV while I ate a quiet dinner; Elf flew by as we enjoyed a glass of wine. Since I’ve had kids, my chosen films have aired in half-hour…

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Our Suffering Advent

Our Suffering Advent

This one comes to us from Matt Kroelinger.

Turn on the news station of your choice, and you will encounter a barrage of sickness, tragedy, and heartache. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen hundreds of people killed: those in Paris, those in the mass shootings in the US, those public beheadings by ISIS. Every now and then, the rarity of these “bumps” in our collective public opinion feel like we’re running over small pebbles–lately, though, it feels like we’re driving over large speed bumps at 35 miles per hour. I don’t know about you, but my suspension feels more like a ’93 Toyota…

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Another Week Ends: Little Richard, Brand Luther, Star Wars, Marilynne Robinson’s Soul, and Identifying As…?

Another Week Ends: Little Richard, Brand Luther, Star Wars, Marilynne Robinson’s Soul, and Identifying As…?

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast.

1) On the heels of “identity” being Dictionary.com’s word of 2015, Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill discusses a theme that we have spoken about quite a bit ourselves this year, namely, the increasingly fluid cultural understanding of identity politics. O’Neill takes on the phrase “I identify as…” as a telling move from what we used to say about ourselves: “I am…” And with this new movement of self-identification comes the emphasis on subjectivity, the need for one’s identity to be transient, temporal—rather than objective, fixed, given.

O’Neill describes that this rampant interest…

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Surviving the Albatross of a Disgustingly Perfect Christmas

Surviving the Albatross of a Disgustingly Perfect Christmas

Billboard’s Top 100 Holiday Songs for the week of December 26, 2015 is an interesting piece to ponder. On the surface, it’s a mere summary of what’s happening around the holidays at a radio station nearest you, a glimpse into the pop culture of a standard American holiday. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” takes number one: a song about romance in the winter and all the cheeriness that comes along with it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the other 99 are not overtly religious either; they are about relationships, family, food, warm fires, happiness, joy,…

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