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    Entries in Christmas (15)


    Rowan Williams, Handel's Messiah, Box Canyon

    Here are a few things I have enjoyed this week. First up, Rowan Williams. This presentation was given earlier this month at St. Paul's Cathedral, London. The video is an hour and a half, which includes an introduction and a question and answer period. Rowan Williams is brilliant.

    One claim made in this presentation:

    We are shown something about God. That the God we believe in is not a God who has to be lured down from heaven by being very, very polite to him, or behaving extra well. We are dealing with a God who can't help himself overflowing, boiling over, into the world he has made. A God who cannot give less than the life that is the divine life. We are dealing, in other words, with a God who does not have to be persuaded to be interested in us. And that's quite a good start.

    Secondly, George Frideric Handel's "Messiah." You would think that I might have heard this beautiful oratorio in its entirety at some point. Until this week, I had not. I have been listening to Christmas music for the past two weeks, and upon hearing Part 12, "Unto Us a Child is Born," I was taken in. I will go so far to say that my soul was lifted, and I was changed.

    Thirdly, this little video from Laity Lodge was something I enjoyed. 

    Underneath from Laity Lodge on Vimeo.

    Lastly, The Brilliance released an EP last week. The track "See the Love" is good, and challenging. Give it a listen.


    The Friendly Beasts: A Meditation

    Click on over the UBC Advent Devotional blog. There, you can read my meditation on the classic carol, "The Friendly Beasts."

    I hope you enjoy.


    Ben Myers on Christmas

    The Birth of Jesus

    Please read all of Ben Myers' Christmas reflections. Most excellent.

    Here is my favorite portion:

    One of my children asked me why we give gifts to each other at Christmas. It is Jesus’ birthday, after all, so shouldn’t all the gifts go to him? We puzzled over this for a bit. We noticed that gifts are given not only on birthdays but also on weddings, anniversaries, the announcement of a pregnancy, and other occasions when the heart is big with joy. We might also give gifts when someone dies or gets sick or when a friend moves away. We use gifts on such occasions because there’s no other way of adequately expressing what the heart feels. We exchange gifts when an exchange of words would not be enough to say what we really mean. Gifts are a release valve for the human spirit. The special thing about Christmas isn’t just the use of gifts – that happens on all special days – but the profligate scale of gift-giving. On nearly every other occasion, the gifts are received by one individual. But the joy of Christmas is so high and so deep that we can only express what it means by giving gifts in every direction. Even if we could bring our gifts directly to the baby Jesus, our hearts would still require a release valve: the joy would be too much for us. On our way home from visiting the baby in the manger we would find ourselves shaking hands with strangers in the street, passing gifts to one another, emptying our purse into the hands of a beggar and telling him to be of good cheer. Why do we give gifts at Christmas? Not because the baby Jesus needs our gifts but because we do: we need to give something to someone: otherwise our hearts would burst.

    I particularly appreciate Myers' emphasis on the incarnation; let us harken back to what was noted earlier this week.

    Let us continue to celebrate Christmas. 'Tis a season.


    A Very Simple, Very Merry Christmas

    For the aesthete, consider this minimalist depiction of the nativity.

    This concept is courtesy of designer Emilie Voirin. Visit her website, and you can meander your way to her Kickstarter campaign, where you will find her vision has been funded: the installation of a "human scale" version at Southwark Cathedral in London. Choose your medium, beechwood or brass.

    HT to Design Milk.

    And Merry Christmas.


    On Christmas Eve

    Mary and Jesus in Manger - Dark Church Cappadocia

    I open the stable door;
    I kneel before the infant;
    I worship with the shepherds;
    I adore the Christ child.
    I give my love with Mary and Joseph;
    I wonder at the 'Word made flesh'.
    I am aware of the love of God;
    I sing glory with the angels;
    I offer my gifts with the wise men.
    I receive the living Lord;
    I hold Him in my hands;
    I go on my way rejoicing,
    glorifying and praising God.
    - David Adam