The Gifts of the Magi Are Always Here

Myths are traditional stories told in every culture, oftentimes with much of the historical basis lost over time. Myths are our collective story of what our lives mean and how to thrive. Jean Houston, scholar, author and philosopher active in the “human potentials movement” says, “Myths are more than old tales; they are ‘codes and roads and maps.’ Where we wind up on life’s journey depends on the map we carry with us.”

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The Darkness of the Womb: #MeToo and the Black Madonna

by Jasmin Morrell

In this season, I drink in silence whenever I have the opportunity to engage it, whenever I become aware that I need it. No matter how hard I try each year to create space around the holidays, to be less busy, to say no to overload, I find myself craving even more simplicity, more presence offered and received. In the past week I arrived an entire day early to not one, but two different appointments and had to ruefully smile at myself for allowing my calendar descend into chaos. And in those moments, after something has fallen through the cracks, I take a breath and let the silence do its work. It’s interesting what happens then: sometimes grief’s sinewy fingers tighten around my throat; sometimes my thoughts continue to race and that spot just between my eyebrows feels achy and tight; sometimes love warms my belly and bleeds into my fingertips; sometimes joy feels like a sunrise in my chest.

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As Legends Go: Conceiving of a Holy Nativity

For anyone who might still want to hold out that Jesus is still the reason for the season, the obvious question is why? If there’s any lingering claim to Jesus’ divinity by way of a virgin birth that could actually result in some sort of redemption for this weary old world, I might be all for it. But that’s an ancient hope, borne of a fanciful legend, whose fruition will take more than singing some beloved old carols, all the while debating whether or not to spike the eggnog.

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“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”—New Verses to Beloved Carol

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a 19th century American carol created in the context of war which addresses its horror directly.

Despite this, it offers hope and a plea for peace.

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Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming—New Verses for Advent/Christmas Carol

This beloved carol originated in a 16th century German monastery. Legend
has it that a monk was inspired to create it after a Christmas Eve forest walk during
which he saw a blooming rose. The imagery is based on Isaiah 11:1 referring to
the Branch of Jesse, a central Messianic symbol: “There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

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The Troubling Philosophy of Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas”

By Renegade Cut

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas is the story of Kirk – playing a version of himself – and his brother-in-law, Christian White. Christian is not in the Christmas spirit this year and has concerns about the rampant consumerism and hoarding of wealth that he believes is antithetical to the season and to Christian teachings in general.

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Every Christmas is a Thin Place – Christmas Eve Sermon

Christmas, every Christmas is a Thin Place. According to the Irish, a Thin Place is a place where the boundaries between heaven and earth fall away. Every Christmas is a Thin Place where the boundaries between our everyday existence and the reality that we are all part of something so much bigger than ourselves, well these boundaries fade away at Christmas. Thin Places are those precious moments in time when the sacred can be seen in the everyday stuff of life. Christmas with its powerful parables, myths, metaphors, and symbols acts as a giant welcoming Thin Place were the boundaries and veils fall away and we are able to recognize the sacred in ourselves, in one another, and in the world around us. I could go on and on about the power of Thin Places to open us to the reality of the LOVE that we call God. But rather than try to explain how the Christmas stories, parables, myths, metaphors, and symbols create thin places, let me tell you a story designed to create a thin place where together we can see the veil between the scared and the everyday fade away.

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Grow Your Heart Two Sizes this Season

Whatever you’re celebrating this month, I encourage you to look around in awe at the many ways we connect with something bigger than ourselves. There is beauty in all of it. In embracing the dark of the solstice and the darkness in us. In rededicating ourselves to a sacred path through eight candlelit nights. In celebrating the light of the world being born in the most unexpected place.

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If your holiday season feels to you to be more holidaze than holy days, ‘tis on you, my friend.

The only one who can make your holidays feel wonderful – holy – is you.

You can bring holiness to this time of year.

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How to hold a Children’s Christmas Pageant today

If, as you say, the stories of Jesus’ miraculous birth are pious legends, what are the implications for staging a children’s Christmas pageant in a small suburban church?

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I Wonder as I Wander (Appalachia)

Words and Music collected by John Jacob Niles Revised words by Tina Datsko de Sanchez

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus our Rabbi did teach that we try 
To love one another, no you and no I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

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The Soul of Christmas

With his trademark blend of storytelling, faith, and psychological insight, New York Times bestselling author Thomas Moore turns his poetic attention to the most enduring story of them all: the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. Carefully and lovingly, he looks at passages from the Gospels, both canonical and non-canonical, comparing them to archetypal stories and ancient myths in order to understand his own beliefs and to gaze in wonder at the Holy Child.

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Got the holiday blues? Here’s a resource for resistance AND renewal!

A new way to experience the holidays..together.

Is it that time of year already?

Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and Christmas is coming…how are you feeling?

Overwhelmed? Resolute? Confused? Curious?

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The Two Gospels

I recently heard a Christmas Eve sermon titled “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” recited entirely in rhymed couplets and delivered without a manuscript. Running for nearly eleven minutes, it was quite a remarkable feat.

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Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” are both 19th century American carols created in the context of war which address its horror directly.

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Oh, Good Grief: Yes, Jesus Was A Real Historical Figure

By Benjamin L. Corey for Patheos

It’s almost Christmas– one of the holiest days of the year for Christians, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was called the Christ.
But did Jesus even exist? Was he a real historical person?
It seems around Christmas or Easter there’s always some agnostic or atheist friends who make the claim that Jesus never existed as a historical person, or at least, that there’s “no evidence” he existed.

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The Word We Need This Christmas

We’ve all been there. Trying to find the right word to say. The right word to say to a friend who has lost her mother. The right word to say in a letter seeking acceptance. The right word to let someone know how much you love him or her.

It’s true that words are not the answer to everything. Sometimes silence is healing. Sometimes silence lets you think. Sometimes just listening, either to a friend or to God or to your own heart is all that’s needed. But when the silence is deafening, when the silence is lonely, we need to hear a word. A word of hope. A word of encouragement. A word of love.

The Bible is the story of a God who tries a multitude of ways to speak to us. A voice in the wilderness. Commandments written in stone. Oracles of prophets seeking justice and mercy.

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A Christmas Meditation

It was more than two thousand years ago that the historic figure we call Jesus lived. It was a life of relatively short duration, only thirty-three years. At most only three of those years were devoted to a public career. Yet, that life appears to have been a source of wonder and power to those who knew him. Tales of miraculous power surrounded him. Words of insight and wisdom were believed to have flowed from his lips. Love and freedom seemed to be qualities that marked his existence. Men and women found themselves called into being by him. Those laden with guilt discovered, somehow, the joy of forgiveness in him. The alone, the insecure, the warped and twisted found him to be a source of peace. He possessed the courage to be who he was. He is described in terms that portray him as an incredibly free man.

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