Advent Resources 2007: What Would Jesus Buy?

30 11 2007

what would jesus buy

What Would Jesus Buy? follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt!

See the trailer at Eliacin’s blog.


Advent Resources 2007: Living in Joyful Anticipation

30 11 2007

by Christine Sine


Annunciation, He Qi

“For most Western Christians, Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, is the beginning of the church calendar. We begin our year not in frantic activity and busy work, but in quiet reflection and expectancy. This is the season when we anticipate the birth of the one who brings life and meaning to all we are and do. We do not just remember his coming to us as a baby, we also anticipate his coming as a Savior to any who will receive him, and await in breathless expectation his coming again at the end of time, when his kingdom will be revealed in all its fullness and God will restore creation and make all things new.”

Read the whole article here.

Advent Resources 2007: Australian Nativity

30 11 2007

by Mark Pierson

Gas Station Nativity

Bonding time: the Nativity in Townsville, Jan Hynes, 2007
All reflection images are by Australian artist Jan Hynes, set in contemporary scenes around her home city, Townsville.

Luke 2: 8-20, The Message

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”


At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:


Glory to God in the heavenly heights,


Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.


As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.


Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!


View the entire reflection set here.

Advent Resources 2007: Liturgy–Prepare the Way of the Lord (Second Sunday)

30 11 2007

Liturgy Alive,

“Has Jesus Christ come or is he still to come? For many he has not yet come, for most of the world does not follow him. Even among his followers, many do not live in the way he taught us. The world he wanted us to build up is still a dream of the future, not the reality of the present. What are we going to do about it? We must change, and then out world will change. We ask the Lord Jesus in this Eucharist to prepare his deeper coming among us.”

Download the whole liturgy for the Second Sunday of Advent.

Click here for the First Sunday of Advent.
Click here for the Third Sunday of Advent.
Click here for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Advent Resources 2007: Botticelli’s “Madonna of the Magnificat”

30 11 2007

from a sermon given by Rev. Ralph Carskadden

Madonna of the Magnificat 2

“When gazing at the splendid ‘Madonna of the Magnificat’ by Botticelli, contemporaries of the artist would have seen something very different from what we see. They would recognize every figure in the painting as a member of the Medici family. According to Wikipedia, the painting portrays the family of Piero de’ Medici, lord of Florence from 1492. His wife Lucrezia Tornabuoni is Mary, Lorenzo de’ Medici is the young man with the ink-pot, flanked by his brother Giuliano de’ Medici who is holding a book. Behind the two boys is Maria, while the two elder sisters are holding the crown in the background: Bianca on the left and Nannina on the right. The newborn is the daughter of Lorenzo, Lucrezia de’ Medici.

However, Botticelli might not have been the complete sellout to the ruling classes that this painting might indicate.”

Read the whole article here.

Advent Resources 2007: Hearing Old Testament Texts

30 11 2007

by Dennis Bratcher, CRI/Voice, Institute

the jesse tree“It is often easy to take the Old Testament readings for the season of Advent as little more than prologue, the preliminaries that set the stage for the main attraction. There is certainly one sense in which that is true as we focus on expectation, hope, and God’s future work in history. Liturgically, that does generate an eagerness to “move on,” especially as we anticipate the Second Advent in the Advent season.

Yet, in terms of understanding and faithfully proclaiming the message of the Old Testament as Scripture, we cannot so easily relegate it to such a secondary role. It is true that some perspectives on the nature of Scripture see the Old Testament, particularly the prophetic traditions, in terms of historical prediction that only awaits the unfolding of history to vindicate the truth of the prediction. The validity and authority of Scripture is then established by the direct correspondence of late events to that prediction.”

To read the whole article, click here.

To read about the Jesse Tree and to find out how to make one, click here.

Advent Resources 2007: Christmas Around the World

30 11 2007


Czech Republic
Czech Christmas cookiesOne ancient Christmas custom is for a girl to tell her fortune by putting a cherry twig in water on December 4th. If the twig blossoms before Christmas Eve, this is believed to be an indication that she will marry during the coming year.


The Coptic Church in Egypt is an Orthodox Church and Christmas is celebrated on December 7th. Advent is observed for forty days and, during this period, people are expected to fast, eating no meat, poultry or dairy products. Some people are inclined to do this only during the last week of Advent. On Christmas Eve, everyone goes to church wearing an entirely new outfit. The Christmas service ends at midnight with the ringing of church bells and people return to their homes to eat a special Christmas meal known as fata, which consists of bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat. On Christmas morning, people in Egypt (and other areas of the Middle East) visit friends and neighbors. They carry kaik with them, which is a type of shortbread, as a gift for those they call upon. Kaik is usually consumed with a drink known as shortbat. For Christians, Christmas Day is a public holiday.


Approximately two weeks prior to Christmas, people in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East plant seeds…chick peas, wheat grains, beans and lentils, for example…in cotton wool. The seeds are watered every day and, by Christmas, have shoots about six inches in height. These shoots are used to surround the manger in Nativity scenes. Figures are fashioned from brown paper and placed above the tableau. Traditionally, people visit friends on Christmas morning and are offered coffee, liqueurs and sugared almonds. Lunch is the most important seasonal meal, usually consisting of chicken and rice and Kubbeh, which is made of crushed boiled wheat and mixed with meat, onion, salt and pepper. The whole family gathers for the meal, customarily at the home of grandparents or the eldest son.

Read about traditions from other countries here.