* DISCLAIMER :: The Sunday's in Christmastide aren't distinguished here, rather, we are focusing on the 12 days of Christmas as commonly practiced in coordination with the RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) and the BCP (the Book of Common Prayer).
For scripture readings and resources check out the links below.
Here is a dramatized telling of the Christmas story. I thought it would be great to gather your family around and listen to this amazing story!
Reading it right from the pages of Scripture is probably even better but you choose!
But remember to retell the story
And not to miss out on our last Music Monday's—here are some good, old fashion Christmas tunes for your enjoyment!
Then below are a few Christmas icons for you to ponder on this great feast day, which is the culmination of all our waiting!
I hope you feast indeed!
How do we reckon time? Do we think to measure all things in relationship to a beginning? What is the polestar or focus of our mind and heart, and to the universe? We all in our own way answer these questions by the way we live each day and moment of our lives. We can answer with an impersonal idea of the beginning of the universe, or even ignore all time as quite meaningless. But we can also answer these questions with a living faith that recognizes that all time is made meaningful and blessed when God is born on Earth and changes and redeems all time. He blessed it when He entered it personally, sharing our human frailties. He redeemed it when He opened the door to our sanctification and Eternal life. St. Paul says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” (Gal. 4:4). Why is this so important? Because God is not distant but close: so close that we can see Him in our hearts, and know Him until we shine with the Light of Christ within. St. Paul also said so clearly, “Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). May we turn our faces toward that blessed cave where Christ awaits us, to be part of the wise men and women of this new generation of faith. Amen.
The Monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and at the Convent of St. Silouan
and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
(taken from an email from the kind folks at Skete.com)
As mentioned, the Sunday readings in your book are for year B of the Revised Common Lectionary.
The best place to find all of these years & readings listed are CRI / The Voice website
The Church Year begins with Advent in November/December.
Here is a quick look at the breakdown of years from the Revised Common Lectionary.
Click on the year below to take you to the Sunday readings you are looking for.
Year A: 2016-2017, 2019-2020
Year B: 2017-2018; 2020-2021
Year C: 2015-2016; 2018-2019
For more Sunday resources refer to the week #1 Sunday post.
Lectio Divina means “The Divine Reading” and is a monastic practice of Scripture reading. This type of scripture reading is a kind of prayerful, meditative reading of the Bible. It’s not a “Bible study” per say but instead, a prayerful interaction with a text (the Bible) that is meant to be seen as alive and active and a primary way of knowing God more fully.
Here is a link to a Lectio Divina guide that my spiritual director gave me. I’ve tweaked a little and tried to make it pretty plane to read. Hopefully it will be helpful as you attempt to do this diving, prayerful scripture reading.
Today I would invited you to read your favorite Christmas Narrative in this way. Let it come alive to you in new ways and draw you into prayer and interaction with God’s story of incarnation.
Grace and peace
PS :: There are some great resource if you want to read more about Lectio Divina and Benedictine spirituality.
Tony Jones book Read. Think. Pray. Live. is straight up a youth version of Lectio Divina. I read it awhile back and remember it being pretty good.
Richard Foster, Life with God. It’s essentially about Lectio Divina and reading the Bible for spiritual transformation. Pretty much anything by Foster is a classic!
Fr. Timothy Gallagher, Meditation and Contemplation. This is all about prayer with Scripture. It’s not exactly Lectio Divina but similar and very helpful. Fr. Gallagher has a series of great books on Ignatian Spirituality (the teaching of St. Ignatius of Loyola) Good stuff!)
Check out the link and read a Christmas sermon by NT Wright. It doesn’t disappoint, NT Wright is a stud! He has a handful of other Christmas sermons on his website, my guess is that they are all just as good!
The meditation from today is from Max Lucado’s Cosmic Christmas. To experience a little different perspective on the familiar Christmas story, this is worth one's reading and pondering! Here is a link to get your copy... there are also some audio and video versions on youtube (warning, most of them are a little old and not very well done. If you find a good one, let know!)
The Work of the People is a cool website with lots of interesting videos and resources. They have this little video of Fr. Richard Rohr talking about the Cosmic Christ. It’s great and continues the thinking of this dimension of Christ.
There is also a longer interview of Fr. Richard Rohr on youtube talking about the cosmic Christ, here’s the link.
Here is a little bonus meditation from The Liturgists on A Cosmic Christmas.
This is a silly little video. There are TONS of videos and parodies for the 12 Days of Christmas on youtube. I picked a pretty normal one. Also, I just posted the video instead of only audio. ENJOY!
But today, we’re really trying to think and pray about how we can celebrate these 12 days a little differently. I have always celebrated just one day of Christmas, but the Christian tradition tells us we get 12 days.
I say, AMEN!
How are you going to celebrate?
I have a friend from Germany whose tradition is to NOT get his Christmas tree until Christmas day (the 1st day of Christmas). He sets up the tree on day number one and then celebrates for the next 12 days, taking the tree down promptly on January 6.
I love that tradition but I haven’t been able to talk my wife into it. She likes her tree too much. We’re still learning and experimenting how to journey through Advent and how to celebrate Christmas. We’re trying to find our traditions as a family and our unique ways of making this time of year meaningful.
I’d love to hear some of your traditions and some of the ways you celebrate Christmas.
Share on facebook or twitter and use the hashtag #AdventJourney and mention me @erikwillits, I can't wait to see what you cook up!
"The 'real' twelve days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the 'Christmas season.' They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world He made, in the form of a baby."
This is an excerpt from an great little article entitle The Real Twelve Days of Christmas.
It can be found on Christianity Today, click on the title link to read the entire article.
Here is another cool audio version of this famous song.
A little something different, enjoy!
Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy is a masterpiece! It’s one of those books you finish reading and you think… “I need to read that again.”
It’s not the easiest read you will ever pick up. It’s challenging but absolutely worth.
(PS: It may be a bit difficult for the average student prior to college, just a heads up.)
This book, a long with a few others from Dallas Willard I would highly recommend.
Check out Dallas on Amazon…
I also found this page on GoodReads that is full of stellar Dallas Willard quotes. Go read a few for some more inspiration! Here are a few I found...
“The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons,
with Himself included in that community as its prime sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.”
― Dallas Willard
“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.”
― Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
“We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word "love".”
― Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
“Sabbath is a way of life (Heb 4:3; 9-11). It is simply "casting all your anxiety on Him," to find that in actual fact " He cares for you"
(1 Peter 5:7). It is USING the keys to the Kingdom to receive the resources for abundant living and ministering.”
― Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
Happy New Year!
* January 1st :: What a perfect time for this Christmastide experiment!
Make a list of EVERYTHING you got or Christmas. Add it up, take some inventory.
Now think of what you can give away that would equal what you got!
Maybe this experiment goes beyond just what you got for Christmas. Maybe you start to evaluate your abundance in other areas of your life. How many extras of this or that do you have? How much extra time to spend doing this or that?
Add it up and give it away!
Personally i’m thinking about how much time I spend watching TV and drinking coffee at the coffee shop. How can I add up that time and that money and give away the equivalent. Maybe part of “giving it away” is spending time to serve to the poor or someone in need. Maybe it’s giving someone I know who is struggling in some way a $50 Starbucks gift card. There’s a million ways i could do it but i want to give it away to those in need and in turn, and most importantly, to God.
You get the idea.
(Add it up, take inventory of your life and start thinking of ways to give it away this year!)
“Incarnation' does not originally mean (as it tends to today in some theologies of history, and in some kinds of Anglican today) that God took all of human nature as it was, put his seal of approval on it and thereby ratified nature as revelation. The point is just the opposite; that God broke through the borders of man’s definition of what is human, and gave a new, formative definition in Jesus.”
― John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus
Mark 8:34-37 (The Message Bible)
“Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-37 (NIV)
”34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
This video is pretty weird but kinda cool.
But more than the video is this version by Jars of Clay
of Love Came Down at Christmas by Jars of Clay.
I love it!
There are a few other versions.
If you have a Spotify account, check em' out.
High Street Hymns
Jenny & Tyler
St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir
(Just do a search on Spotify of "Love Came Down at Christmas" and you’ll can find all these and more.)
Enjoy the 9th day of Christmastide! 3 more days to celebrate Christmas! ENJOY!
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world
—stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago
is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
Then you keep Christmas.
And if you keep it for a day, why not always?
– Henry Van Dyke, The Spirit of Christmas, as found in A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God
I know there wasn’t an icon in the book today. And it probably feels weird to keep listening to Christmas music this far after Christmas day. BUT it’s still Christmas and we’re still celebrating the birth of Christ!
So… On the 10th day of Christmas Erik gave to you…
One sweet Christmas playlist!
ENJOY — Christmas ain’t over yet!
( If you only listen to 1 song, listen to The Brilliance song Christmastide. perfect! )
"This mighty vision of the prophet is founded on the liberation of oppressed men and women through the disarming birth of the divine child. Its goal is the turn from bloody war to the peace that endures and is unbroken.”
Moltmann goes to say,
“Realistically, though the prophet talks about hunger, slavery and occupying troops, he ends messianically. He lets his vision of the birth of the child and the appearance of the peace of God shine like a light into the conflicts and experiences of real life."
– Jurgen Moltmann
The entirety of todays meditation can be found on the Upper Room Devotional page I linked above.
There is only a little more to the meditation but it's well worth checking out.
Here is a question asked at the end of this web article
How does the reminder to know the story of Jesus’ life from beginning, middle and end affect your faith
Check out the next post on Epiphany to see how you can continue your journey!
CONTINUE THE JOURNEY
CONTINUE THE JOURNEY
Our friends at Christ Church in Overland Park,
Kansas made this great little video that really
helps understand the Christian calendar.
I've showed this to our students and adults, challenged them to take what they have learned during Advent and Christmastide and continue it on as they live out the story of the God and God’s people.
Continue to follow the Christian calendar. Pick up on themes of Epiphany, Lent (I know a good book for you to get for your Lenten journey!), Easter and even Ordinary Time (for Ordinary Time to!)
It’s been a fun journey. Please drop me a not and let me know how it was for you and your community!
May the grace and peace of Christ go with you!
Erik E. Willits
(PS :: the video won’t play here on Tumblr so just click the link and head over to Vimeo to check it out!)