Posts tagged "Christmas"

Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

This is the second time in my life I have been pregnant during Christmas. With the first, I was only a few short weeks into the process and so mostly just doe-eyed, exhausted, and power-eating Chick-fil-a. This go-round though, I’m at 18 weeks and still running for the toilet every time I eat anything with sugar, change a diaper, or drink liquid with too much vigor.

Nausea aside, being pregnant during “The Season” sheds so much light on “The Reason.” The season leading up to Christmas, what we call Advent, is a season of waiting and anticipation. Easter is probably supposed…

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Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

I may not be the only one for whom an element of Law has infiltrated the yearly ritual of gift-giving. On the giver side, I spent an undue amount of time and energy trying to find things adequately utilitarian yet also personal, valuable but not profligate, suited to the taste of various people. And on the recipient side, I feel like I’m growing progressively more choosey: partly as a function of growing older, with ever-more specific tastes, and partly as a function of the Internet (numerous sub-forums are involved in my selection of even a minor thing for myself). The…

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A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

The Advent reading this morning in the Daily Office Lectionary is a zinger, the way it’s laid out. (Don’t get any ideas—this isn’t something I do with any regularity.) First off, we’re given the Old Testament reading, the Lord’s promise through the prophet Isaiah, that a child will come, and that through him the heavy burdens of the “people in darkness” will finally see light: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…

An Imaginative Festival of Lessons and Carols

An Imaginative Festival of Lessons and Carols

A yearly Christmas pleasure is King’s College at Cambridge’s famous Festival of Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve, nine lessons and nine carols with a beautiful choir and traditional music. For those who just can’t wait, here’s a bit of the rationale of the King’s College service, followed by an Mbird-friendly, fresh and down-to-earth spinoff to tide you over:

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first held on Christmas Eve 1918. It was planned by Eric Milner-White, who, at the age of thirty-four, had just been appointed Dean of King’s after experience as an army chaplain which had convinced him that…

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December Mix: Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2014

colour-nativity-by-sebastian-bergne

Growing up the son of a liturgical Episcopal priest, Christmas music was verboten in our house until after the 4th Sunday in Advent. So, it makes me nervous when Dave makes me post my Xmas mix right as December dawns… Anywho, Jing Jing A Ling! Let me know what rings your bell.

07_jimmy-jules_lp_cover

Christmas in July: In Celebration of the Copycats and Original Cover of All Things

Christmas in July: In Celebration of the Copycats and Original Cover of All Things

When you watch a movie that’s a re-make of an older movie (which was also probably adapted from a musical adaptation of a novel) – do you ever mope and wonder if anything out there is original anymore? Is there really nothing new under the sun? I like to be cynical and sleep bitterly in this camp from time to time, sure that our collective imaginations are being mercilessly wiped away by some Never Ending Story-esque of a Nothing. “This is all that’s left of Fantasia!?” But then I consider the very concept of originality and I start to chuckle…

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Grace in Practice in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Grace in Practice in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

It’s that time of year again! The time when you break out those old classic Christmas movies and watch them by the fireside while drinking hot cocoa and basking in the nostalgia of the season. And there’s perhaps no more quintessential Christmas movie than Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” – a must see.

Before seeing it recently (on the big screen, no less), I had always remembered it as a movie that gives you that warm assurance that life is worth living. George is a man at the end of his rope when he’s given a divine vision of…

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Bridging the Empathy Gap: Pap’s New Judge and a Man from Nazareth

Bridging the Empathy Gap: Pap’s New Judge and a Man from Nazareth

This piece on empathy comes from our friend (the inimitable) Michael Bender:

Grace in the face of alcoholism is not a new theme on Mbird, but I thought I might add to the literature with a brief anecdote from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. At the beginning of the novel, Huckleberry spends some time describing his father, and Pap’s tendencies towards whiskey and debauchery. Huckleberry describes his father’s typical life cycle:

Pap took [some money] and got drunk and went a-blowing around and cussing and whooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all over town, with a tin pan,…

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Another Week Ends: Heresy vs. Apathy, Cartoon Boba Fett, Grown-Up Three-Year-Olds, Krampus, Winning the Lottery, More Deep Blue Sea, and Seeing God

Another Week Ends: Heresy vs. Apathy, Cartoon Boba Fett, Grown-Up Three-Year-Olds, Krampus, Winning the Lottery, More Deep Blue Sea, and Seeing God

1. Another fascinating piece by Tanya Luhrmann over at the New York Times argues that “Hark, the Herald Angels Didn’t Sing.” Amidst sobering reminders from strict biblical constructionists that many Christmas details are imagined or embellished, Luhrmann advocates a middle road for how to engage the Bible with imagination, ht SZ:

I am no theologian and I do not think that social science can weigh in on the question of who God is or whether God is real. But I think that anthropology offers some insight into why imaginatively enriching a text taken as literally true helps some Christians to hang on…

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To Christ Our Lord – Galway Kinnell

To Christ Our Lord – Galway Kinnell

The legs of the elk punctured the snow’s crust
And wolves floated lightfooted on the land
Hunting Christmas elk living and frozen;
Inside snow melted in a basin, and a woman basted
A bird spread over coals by its wings and head.

Snow had sealed the windows; candles lit
The Christmas meal. The Christmas grace chilled
The cooked bird, being long-winded and the room cold.
During the words a boy thought, is it fitting
To eat this creature killed on the wing?

He had killed it himself, climbing out
Alone on snowshoes in the Christmas dawn,
The fallen snow swirling and the snowfall gone,
Heard its throat scream as the gunshot scattered,
Watched it…

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December Playlist: Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2012

‘Tis (almost) the season, Mbirders,

Dave has asked me to put up my annual Xmas mix again this year for your easy listening pleasure.

Per usual, it showcases this years’ particular pop obsessions (Roxy Music, the Bee Gees, the Manics [although I left out the Dead!]), outre cover versions (Cee Lo, J Tull, Jon Anderson), and selections from my Christmas vault that I propose for canonization (Ed Gerhard, John Prine, Byron Lee). Now –  I submit to you this question: what makes the Glam and Power Pop sub-genres the ground most fertile for holiday originals.? Taste and see!


  1. Giddie Up - The Dumbells (aka Roxy Music) 
  2. Three Ships - Jon Anderson
  3. Please Come Home For Christmas - The Insight (featuring Johnny & Edgar Winter)
  4. Christmas Time In Motor City - Was (Not Was)
  5. Let’s Get It Together This Christmas - Harvey Averne Band
  6. Winter Wonderland - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
  7. Mele Kalikimaka - Arthur Lyman
  8. Merry Christmas Baby - Dr. John
  9. Hey Santa Claus - The Moonglows
  10. The Wildest Christmas - The Boys Next Door
  11. Deck The Halls - Metal Mike, Alison & Julia 
  12. Merry Christmas Will Do - Material Issue
  13. Please Leave Me Home For Christmas - Imperial Drag
  14. Ghost of Christmas - Manic Street Preachers
  15. Christmas, Bring Us - The Grip Weeds
  16. Christmas Was Better In The 80s - The Futureheads
  17. White Christmas - The Wedding Present
  18. Christmas Spirit - The Wailers
  19. Christmas in Prison (Live) - John Prine
  20. Christmas '83 - Centro-matic
  21. Silver Bells - Arlo Guthrie & Ed Gerhard
  22. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman - Jethro Tull
  23. Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
  24. Children Go Where I Send Thee - Odetta
  25. River - Cee Lo Green
  26. Thank You for Christmas - Bee Gees

If you’d like to hear more selections, please check out my treasure trove of Christmas goodness on A Rather Lovely Thing, the Fishwick family blog. Adeste Fideles!

Christmas Itself Is By Grace: Frederick Buechner Riffs on the Incarnation

Christmas Itself Is By Grace: Frederick Buechner Riffs on the Incarnation

Christmas is coming (ready or not!), and while Mockingbird can’t help trim your stockings or stuff your tree, we hope in all humility to be able to offer a little food for thought this season.  In that vein, here’s a gospel bomb of a yuletide quote from Frederick Buechner:

Christmas itself is by grace. It could never have survived our own blindness and depredations otherwise. It could never have happened otherwise. Perhaps it is the very wildness and strangeness of the grace that has led us to try to tame it. We have tried to make it habitable. We have roofed it and…

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