December 4, 2016

Fridays with Michael Spencer: December 2, 2016

Today, Michael Spencer’s classic post, “Lo, How a Rose:” Experiencing The Power of Beauty. • • • It was Christmas of 1968. I was a seventh grader at Estes Junior High School. School was a huge part of my world. My father was beginning down the road to depression. I was an only child, and […]

Another Look: Go forth to meet him

Tomorrow is the beginning of December. We are a few brief weeks away from welcoming the Christ-child at his birth. As we face this season and event, here are some words from Brother Thomas Merton that make me think. For Christmas will come this year, just as it did long ago in Bethlehem. And, as on […]

Sermon: Advent I — The Days Before

Sermon: Advent I The Days Before You thought God was an architect, now you know He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow And everything you built that’s all for show goes up in flames In twenty-four frames • Jason Isbell “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, […]

Advent Pic and Cantata of the Week

ADVENT I Bach Cantata BWV 36, “Soar in your joy” ♕ Auch mit gedämpften, schwachen Stimmen Wird Gottes Majestät verehrt. Denn schallet nur der Geist darbei, So ist ihm solches ein Geschrei, Das er im Himmel selber hört. Even with subdued, weak voices Gods majesty is honoured. for if only the spirit resounds, there is such […]

Jan Richardson: This Luminous Darkness – Searching for Solace in Advent and Christmas

Note from CM: One of my favorite sites on our blogroll (listed as “J Richardson”) is Jan Richardson’s The Painted Prayerbook. Her art is evocative and profound, her love for the seasons of the Christian Year instructive, and her writing talent remarkable. She maintains several different sites, including a blog for Advent called, “The Advent Door: Entering […]

Advent IV: The King is coming, and we shall overcome!

Advent IV The King is coming, and we shall overcome! (First posted in 2011) One day in my chaplain work, I had marvelous conversation with an African-American woman who had grown up in Mississippi, moved to Indianapolis, whose family had relocated to other rust-belt cities like Chicago and Detroit in the 1960’s and 70’s. She […]

The Haunting of Christmas

There’ll be scary ghost stories And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year • • • As with other posts this Advent/Christmas season, we’re exploring some of the strange and interesting ways people celebrate the season. The way we as Americans celebrate Christmas hasn’t essentially […]

Another Look: Why do we love this season?

Why do we love this season? I would suggest that aesthetics have much to do with the answer to that question. Advent and Christmas are made sensible to us by means of the things we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch at this time of year. Spiritual truth comes out of the closet of the abstract and makes itself […]

Advent III: Bearing the fruits of mercy

Advent III Bearing the fruits of mercy I find today’s Gospel reading most interesting and instructive. 3:7 John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say […]

Advent II: Mercy takes the risk of birth

Advent II Mercy takes the risk of birth. I thought of this poem last week, when each day seemed to bring more news of violence, death, and fear. It gave me words when I had none. It portrays the world in realistic terms and speaks of God’s response to the world at all times: overcome […]