Suffering Each Other at Christmas


There is perhaps nothing I like less over Christmas than hearing "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon. I dislike this because it is about a world where war is inconceivable because love is inconceivable. This having been said, it is not as if Lennon is speaking outside longstanding Christian tradition. … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: The Gift of Breath

Christmas Presents

As an Anglo-Saxonist, I am keenly aware of the way that the transfer of gifts reflects the norms that underlie a society. And so I got thinking about what the way we do gift-giving might tell us about ourselves. In particular, gift-giving is oriented toward the receiver rather than both parties. In … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: That Mourns in Lonely Exile Here

John the Baptist by Bartolomeo Veneto 16th century

There is a part of us that avoids exile; there is another part of us that is attracted to it. We are attracted to it because it has a way of shattering our illusions. As Jesus puts it in yesterday's Advent reading, people did not go out to the wilderness to hear John the Baptist on account of his … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Gaudete, or Throwing Ourselves in the Way of an Oncoming Joy


Today is Gaudete Sunday, the day set aside for emphasizing the more joyful aspects of apocalypse and Christ’s return. The name comes from the Latin opening of one of the readings for the day, “Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice.” It is the reason we light a pink candle today … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Dickens vs. Capra


For me, there are two classic films that epitomize the Christmas season: It’s a Wonderful Life, and the Alistair Sim version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. You should go out and watch them both. But for the moment, I would like to compare them and suggest that the Christmas Carol is more Christian … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Seasonal Commercialism


One of the most popular of Christmas traditions is critiquing its commercialism. Yet I worry that many of us in our hipster self-righteousness throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. I read an article suggesting that the problem with advertising is not the human desires it appeals to, … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Christmas with Dido


The Christmas and Advent art I find myself most attracted to is the bittersweet kind. In terms of hymns, the more obvious of these include songs such as “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” and “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” But for this post I would like to talk about a secular song, “Christmas Day,” … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Nunc Dimittis


One of the things that inevitably happens during this season is exhaustion from frantic over-scheduling and errands, and while it would be convenient to blame this wholly on secular society, I fear that many Christian churches, with all their Christmas programs etc., may also lurk behind this … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Happy Feast Day of St. Nicholas

St Nicholas

Yes, it is the feast day of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus; indeed, there are still remnants of him in the modern representation of Santa Claus - Santa wears red because that is the color that Nicholas, being a Bishop, would have worn.What you may not … [Read more...]

Advent Reflections: Peace on Earth


Led a Bible study on Advent tonight, and was struck in the BCP Advent passages by the episode where Jesus turns over the tables of the money changers in the temple because he is angry that it is a den of robbers rather than a house of prayer. It made me realize the violence that might be necessary … [Read more...]


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