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Posts tagged "Advent"

A Genealogy of Wastrels

A Genealogy of Wastrels

Another great one from the Advent devotional, Watch for the Light. This one was written by Gail Godwin about the precariously long lineage recounted in Matthew’s Gospel, which moves from broken promise to broken promise, and finally ending with the Promised One.

…These three minutes worth of tongue twisting names contain the essential theology of the Old and New Testaments for the whole Church, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant alike.

Now that’s a pretty bold and sweeping ecumenical statement. But Brown tells us Zwingli was already preaching it back during the Reformation. Zwingli preached that Matthew’s genealogy contained the essential theology of…

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Another Week Ends: Burial Road, Rethinking Infidelity, Batman Smells, Curationism, the Anti-App, and the Absurdity of Hope

Another Week Ends: Burial Road, Rethinking Infidelity, Batman Smells, Curationism, the Anti-App, and the Absurdity of Hope

New episode of The Mockingcast (“Tis Better to Receive Than to Give”) now up on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

1. Let’s begin with “The End,” The Times’ heartwrenching but incredibly moving series on death. This week’s entry, “The Heroes of Burial Road” by Catherine Porter, chronicles how, in response to unaffordable funeral costs and an unfathomable death rate, a shocking number of deceased Haitians have been left unburied. It’s a gut-punch of a story, terribly affecting, but, as with so many things of this weight, a swift flume for grace in practice.

Porter details the way a patchwork of various workers…

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Go Gently

Go Gently

A beautiful reflection on family and the Advent season by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

And we think that we can’t write that for which we do not have words but actually sometimes you can if you go gently between the words. Brian Doyle

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

It is a week before Christmas and I tell my oldest son: “It is a big responsibility to be a big brother.” This three year old stares at me blankly from across the room, then continues playing with the nativity scene strewn across the floor in a mishmash of…

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Recommended Music: "Songs for Christmas Time" by Lowland Hum

Recommended Music: “Songs for Christmas Time” by Lowland Hum

Last Christmas my wife and I had a revelation that it seems everyone has, sooner or later. We actually started listening to Christmas music. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?!” We’re millennials. We barely know how to start a fire, much less roast chestnuts on an open one. Forget keeping Christ in Christmas; it sometimes seems like Christmas isn’t even in Christmas. And yet here I am this year, eagerly watching as city workers string up cedar garlands downtown, checking my weather app for LED snowflakes, caught up in the internal tug-of-war that this season always brings: the longing for,…

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"Mother and Child": Calling BS on the Expectations of "Silent Night"

“Mother and Child”: Calling BS on the Expectations of “Silent Night”

I used to love how the carol “Silent Night” captured my image of the season: peaceful, expectant, hopeful. Then I became an adult, and a parent, and Christmastime became anything but serene. I found myself singing words like “all is calm, all is bright” while looking around at other faces, wondering, “Does anyone else believe this nonsense?” When God saw fit to give me my own swaddled baby boy–then another–I related to Mary more than ever and felt that someone must speak up for her, because if I know anything about Christmas with a newborn (and I do; my kids…

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The Most Necessary Conversion (in Advent)

In response to several requests, here’s the wonderful quotation Scott read at the end of the most recent Mockingcast, taken from Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa second Advent sermon in 2008 to the Pontifical household:

linusThis is the most necessary conversion for those who have already followed Christ and have lived at his service in the Church. An altogether special conversion, which does not consist in abandoning what is evil, but, in a certain sense, in abandoning what is good! Namely, in detaching oneself from everything that one has done…

This emptying of one’s hands and pockets of every pretension, in a spirit of poverty and humility, is the best way to prepare for Christmas. We are reminded of it by a delightful Christmas legend that I would like to mention again. It narrates that among the shepherds that ran on Christmas night to adore the Child there was one who was so poor that he had nothing to offer and was very ashamed. Reaching the grotto, all competed to offer their gifts. Mary did not know what to do to receive them all, having to hold the Child in her arms. Then, seeing the shepherd with his hands free, she entrusted Jesus to him. To have empty hands was his fortune and, on another plane, will also be ours.

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

Also, this, taken from God Is in the Manger, a collection of Bonhoeffer’s reflections of Christmas and Advent, ht SC:

“God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”

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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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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Strange Gifts in the Season of Receiving

Strange Gifts in the Season of Receiving

This is an Advent reflection that came up in yesterday’s entry in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. It comes from pastor and theologian William Willimon, who is discussing the misplaced emphasis on the “season of giving,” and the real reason for the season–receiving. 

In a society that makes strangers of us all, it is interesting what we do when a stranger gives us a gift.

And consider what we do at Christmas, the so-called season of giving. We enjoy thinking of ourselves as basically generous, benevolent, giving people. That’s one reason why everyone, even the nominally religious, loves Christmas. Christmas…

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The Life, Death, Life Cycle

The Life, Death, Life Cycle

We are now up to our necks in Advent, two candles burning. We’ve got lights on the tree and parties dead ahead. It’s a season of waiting, as we all know, but in a lot of ways, between leafless trees and dry skin, it’s also a season of dying. Because there has to be some sort of death before there can be life, some sort of struggle before triumph. You can’t celebrate a championship unless there were teams to beat. You can’t celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary unless there was something challenging about that course of life. Christmas is a…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Advent with Rembrandt

Hopelessly Devoted: Advent with Rembrandt

This one comes to us from the inestimable Zac Koons:

How do you picture the first day of creation? What did it look like when God spoke “light” into unending darkness? Was it instant, incapacitating brightness? Or did it spread unhurried, colors metamorphosing like a sunrise? Was there a bang? Or deafening silence? I wonder what it looked like for light to first come into the world.

Now, how do you picture the Nativity? What sounds back-dropped the baby’s cry? What smells hung in the air? Was it crowded around the trough? And how was Mary? Of course she was exhausted. But…

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