from 6 December to 12 December 2004
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Could resurrecting Advent be the great uniter?
the Rev. William Bippus wrote
of his encounter with an ecumenical lectionary study group where:
naturally, the meaning and purpose of Advent arose. One of the group,
from a church which has not traditionally observed liturgical seasons
such as Advent or Lent, suggested that we stop trying to 'hold out'
against the prevailing culture, and simply celebrate the mystery of
the Nativity throughout the entire month of December. In other words,
let the carols begin!"
present "crisis" of Anglicanism about matters sexual and orthodox -
ad nauseam - perhaps this is one item around which we can ALL unite.
That is, unless there are some caring Anglicans who want to cave in
to the prevailing secular culture, which would be few. Ahhh, gentle
men and women, think of the united missonary power we Anglicans could
display if we took on the single task of introjecting Advent back into
one may think such a task is not possible in terms of the weight of
the secular culture. One can debate that. However, there is one thing
that is beyond debate. That is our common sense of Anglican ethos and
identity expressed in common prayer. In this case, that prayer as expressed
in the liturgy, is clothed in the mantle of the violet and the blue,
that Advent wreath and the expectation that is not known elsewhere.
Dispite our differing views on other issues, there is a great deal that
we can accomplish together with the bonds that reamain strong if one
the North Dakota diocese
Fargo, North Dakota, USA
6 December 2004
place in my heart for early decorations
message on this second week of Advent reminds me of the two Christmases
I spent in retail, as a clerk in a kitchen wares shop. That first Christmas
I realized something new. We here in the U.S. are blessed, or cursed,
with enormous choice, unlike anything anywhere else in the world. And
the Halloween-to-Christmas (yes, it now begins at Halloween!) buying
season makes that choice possible.
with people invested in that shop, I never quite had the same loathing
for the end of year buying frenzy I had had before. I sensed that, even
though many shops who can't make the cut close up, many more would close
without that buying spree, leaving people unemployed and leaving us
the consumer at the mercy of the choices of the survivors - witness
the experience of some towns to which WalMart comes.
I still deplore our obsessive consumerism, at the same time my husband
Newlin and I will put up the icicle lights on the front of our church-provided
house today, Monday of Advent 2, and we've bought a Christmas tree and
will put it up today. At the same time, while we will buy presents for
each other, we won't buy them for the rest of the family. We're donating
a flock of mixed barnyard fowl through Heifer International instead.
And to make space inside myself I do a piece of art each morning as
part of my prayer time, a piece that reflects my feelings on the readings
of the day.
But I will
remain torn about our consumerism, because I have those two years when
my own livelihood depended on others consuming conspicuously. And since
I believe in Santa Claus, I'll also continue to have a warm place in
my heart for the early decorations that go up around town. I just wish
some of them would be a little more tasteful - blow-up Frosty the Snowmen
don't turn me on.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA
6 December 2004
decorations usually have Christian origin and meaning
I agree with your thoughts about Advent and Commercial Christmas, but
some niggling things.....
in fact have Christian meaning, and these can be reclaimed if we pass
it on to children [and adults for that matter]. For example the candy
cane is in fact a shepherds crook reminding us of the Good Shepherd.
The traditional pattern is one broad red stripe, four narrow red stripes
and one green stripe recalling the five wounds of Christ, and the life
[green] He offers us. Peppermint was an embalming spice [and tastes
better than myrrh] and of course the sugar reminds us of the sweetness
of Christ's love for us. Garlands are hung out to welcome a hero or
monarch, globes hung from the evergreen tree recall the planets in their
courses, sustained [suspended] by their creator, and lights and stars
go without saying I hope. In our parish we always have a visit from
St. Nicholas to make the faith connection with the commercial Santa
may not be able to change the commercial world's attitude to our feast,
we can subversively reclaim the interpretation for our own people so
that all the work they put into the decorations become ubiquitous reminders
for us of the awesomeness of the incarnation.
blessings to you all as we prepare in wonder for the coming of the Christ
St. Catherine, Bird's Hill
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
6 December 2004
the tree? Won't work here
your throughts about recapturing Advent and Christmas and loved the
idea of sabotaging the office tree. I'd love to try it but it won't
work in my case.
always a family custom to bring in the tree, which we would cut down
ourselves, and decorate it on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Christmas
Eve was kept purely for decorating the tree and the house and other
I say "family"
tradition; for 30 years my parents lived in Libya, and it was something
we picked up in Tripoli in the 1950s from the Italian community there.
But it stuck and still sticks. Much to the initial annoyance of friends
and flatmates, the tradition has been maintained, to the point now that
some actually copy me; they may go to parties but they too do not decorate
until Christmas eve. Not many,of course, but some - and, probably significantly,
they don't have children at home.
So no point
sabotaging their trees. But it might have been fun.
Scotland, France, and Saudi Arabia
6 December 2004
the Advent decorations
for your suggestion of dividing secular and sacred holiday decorations.
At my house we have a tradition of a "winter village" that goes up soon
after Thanksgiving, along with the Advent wreath and the Advent calendar.
This seems to satisfy our children's desire to anticipate Christmas,
without anticipating the sacred feast.
Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA
7 December 2004
we code our ribbons?
reorganizing our acolyte corps and are trying to decide a coding for
the ribbons on the acolyte crosses or medals. Differing colors for one
year, two year, three years etc. of service. Any recommendations?
Stoughton, Massachusetts, USA
12 December 2004
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