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The Birth of Jesus – New Bishop Spong book!

While Luke’s narrative, the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus, is lyrical and inspiring, in the Birth of Jesus, Spong persuasively demonstrates it is allegory. Layer by layer, Spong weighs every element of the New Testament stories against Old Testament legends building a convincing case. Spong’s essays step backward and forward through the scriptures demonstrating why each element was chosen by the early CE writers to establish Jesus’ lineage and divinity. It is a fascinating and persuasive journey and a remarkable illustration of Biblical scholarship.

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O Ultimate Mystery

O Ultimate mystery,
who comes to us in many pictures,
grant that the story of Christmas may
awaken the child within us

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Christmas Celebrations 2014 with songs

I invite you into the way I celebrate Christmas. It may be different to the way you celebrate and think about Christmas, but I ask you to join me as I bring you into what I think can be a joyful way of celebration in the 21st Century. One of the biblical scholars has helped me crystallise what I find difficult about the traditional presentations of Christmas. Greg Jenks, in his book ‘Jesus then and Jesus now’ has asked the question, “Has the Jesus tradition become a giant fairy-tale for children, and little more than an annual exercise of ‘let’s pretend’ for grown-ups?” (Page 123) That is the question which plagues me every Christmas.

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Tiptoe, softly, gently

From the Boundless Life collection

Tiptoe, softly, gently
To the Christmas stall;
Space where hope is singing
Peace on earth for all.

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Topics: Arts and Music, Belief, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Audio MP3, Hymns, and PDF Download.

God is present in each baby

From the Boundless Life collection

God is present in each baby
And throughout all time and space,
In the chaos and the order,
In each tender touch and face.

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Topics: Arts and Music and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe and Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Audio MP3, Hymns, and PDF Download.

Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

So, if your struggling over some of the details of the nativity story, if the experts have left you perplexed, cynical or worried, do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. The story is true, every last word of it is true. For just like Dom so wisely revealed to us, the story of the nativity is a parable and like all parable’s it represents a truth that cannot be fully expressed in words. Like all good parables the truth is not to be found in the details, but rather in the Spirit of God that breathes life into the parable. It’s a parable about so many things, but most of all it is a parable about peace on earth giving glory to God.

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Celebrate at Christmas Time

From the Boundless Life collection

Celebrate at Christmas time
Light that only dark can birth,
Light in every baby’s eyes,
Gift of darkened realms of Earth.

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Topics: Arts and Music and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Audio MP3, Hymns, and PDF Download.

The Marion Diaries

Reflections by Michael Hollingshead

I could feel the warm afternoon wind blowing a few moments before; right through the window where I was standing, stacking some bowls.

A moment later it blew again, only this time it was cool and refreshing, and even smelled sweet like hyssop, or juniper, or jasmine.

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Topics: Fiction and Poetry, Jesus Studies, Preaching/Teaching, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Texts: Luke, Psalms, and Titus. Resource Types: Readings and Sermons.

Poem to Mother Mary

“Blessed Virgin Mary, I’m coming full circle
and I want to be your…what is it I want?
I want to be your child and friend again.
May I?”

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Topics: Fiction and Poetry, Gender and Sexuality, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Poetry.

“Keep awake! Watch for we know not when Christ comes.

Advent is about waiting and watching: waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. We wait for just the right time to celebrate the birth of Christ in our midst and we watch for Christ’s promised return. But how do we wait and where do we watch?

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Mary, Joseph, Jesus (The Astronomers’ Carol)

From the Boundless Life collection

Mary, Joseph, Jesus,
The characters remain.
Shepherds and the angels,
Truth travellers’ contain
Shaped in ancient story’s
Sweet mystical refrain.

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