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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Mary and Joseph

What does the New Testament tell us about Mary? Mark, the earliest gospel, did not include a birth narrative, so his mentions of Mary are vague and not very flattering. He says Jesus’ family (the family isn’t specified; does he mean Mary and Joseph or Mary and Jesus’ brothers?) attempted to restrain him because people were claiming he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21). If Mary was present, it seems strange that other gospel verses say she was visited by an angel who told her that she would conceive a special child or to whom Luke says shepherds came in wonder to visit her newborn child or to whom Matthew says wise men journeyed to bring gifts to welcome her wondrous child’s birth.

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Answers for Lukas

My “musing” a few weeks ago focused on a 7-year old boy’s question:  “What ideas do you have about how to stop the mean people?”  Since seeing his question on a poster he made and placed on …

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The Donkey’s Dream

A beautifully illustrated story of the Nativity. He was just an ordinary donkey, but on his back he carried a miracle. He carried the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem on the night she gave birth. Along the way he dreamed he was carrying a city, a ship, a fountain, and a rose. He dreamed he was carrying a lady full of heaven–and he was. Barbara Helen Berger’s glowing artwork and lyrical text perfectly convey the beauty and majesty of the story of the Nativity

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I Will Light Candles this Christmas

by Howard Thurman

I will light candles this Christmas.
Candles of joy, despite all sadness.
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.

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Topics: Prayer, Spiritual Exploration & Practice, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Affirmations, Prayers, and Readings.
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During the Season of Giving, Don’t Forget the Animals

During the holidays, giving to those in need, whether it is an extra can of food, a coat, or a new toy, is a wonderful thing. It is also a time to remember the pets who need …

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God Is Seen Anew

1. God is at hand. A babe is born;
Proclaimed to be ‘The Light’;
With every morn
New light brings dawn:
And God is seen anew;
And God is seen anew;
And God, and God is seen anew.

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Topics: Arts and Music and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Hymns.

The Virgin Monologue

“‘God did it’ isn’t an explanation,” said Joseph.
He got no account for the baby’s chromosomes,
No description of the mechanism that
Transmuted the divine shadow into royal blood.

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Topics: Devotional, Fiction and Poetry, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Resource Types: Poetry and Readings.

I Have to Differ!

In his New Testament and Mythology, Bultmann claims that “modern man is convinced that the mythical view of the world is obsolete”, that “all our thinking today is shaped for good and ill by modern science”, “the miracles of the new testament have ceased to be miraculous”, and—astonishingly—that “the mythical view of the world must be accepted or rejected in its entirety”.

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Holy Families, Outrageous Possibilities

How do you see the Holy Family? What do they look like? “Ordinary”?—what does that mean? Iconic? A nativity scene or an artist’s impression? Surrounded by shepherds and angels and animals, or isolated and on the run from Herod—or from dubious family members still unsure of Joseph’s wisdom in marrying Mary? Perhaps you see a pageant—a filmstrip of images one after the other, screening numerous family scenes and mythologies and narratives. Hold them in your mind’s eye…

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Framework of Christmas – first Sunday of Advent in Aotearoa

In Advent, we build the framework of Christmas
together we put up scaffolding
signalling something’s being renovated
something new is being created.

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