Christmas Foreshadows Easter  

Posted by Joe Rawls in ,

Over at, MC Steenberg has an excellent essay exploring the theological connections between the Nativity and the Resurrection. If you read the whole thing, pay particular attention to how he compares the icons of the two feasts.

There is an intimate, intrinsic connection between the Feast of the Nativity of Christ in the flesh, and the feast of His glorious Resurrection, the holy Pascha of the Lord. The two are united in the single saving reality of the Son's incarnation, which from His human birth to His death and resurrection manifests the eternal saving design of the man-befriending God....At the Feast of the Nativity, when we hymn Christ's birth, we are already singing a Paschal song, already commemorating the great and mysterious events at the other terminus of His earthly life--for in Christ, the eternity of God meets the finitude of His creation, and we see in every moment of the Son's human life the full scope and dimension of that eternity. Already, as we hymn the infant lain in the cave, we are enabled to sing with the hymn, 'Salvation enters the world and the curse is destroyed'; already we are able to taste the glory of Paschal midnight, which we rejoice in the full mystery of a 'death that has trampled down death', bestowing life to those in the tombs. It begins here. It is known and encountered now.

Roman Christmas Proclamation  

Posted by Joe Rawls in

On today's Feast of the Nativity we have a Christmas proclamation originating in the Roman Catholic church and recommended for use at the beginning of the Christmas liturgy. A hat-tip to
The New Liturgical Movement.


Today, the twenty-fifth day of December,
unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and woman in his own image;
several thousand years after the flood, when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant;
twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah, thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt;
eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;
one thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace;
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born at Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.
Today is the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Advent Repentance  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Advent was originally a penitential season, not a period of pre-Christmas frenzied shopping. Penitence still predominates in the eastern churches. Mike Marsh, Episcopal priest and rector of St Phillip's in Uvalde, Texas, has a take on repentance that goes beyond breast-beating and wallowing in guilt. It appeared recently on his always-interesting site Interrupting the Silence.



  • is as much or more about our heart as it is about our actions.
  • is returning our gaze to God.
  • is changing the direction of our life in order to face, see, and receive our coming salvation.
  • is turning our life around.
  • is to choose a new life.
  • is not just about changing behavior--it is a change of mind, a change in direction, a change in attitude, a change in our way of being.
  • is the recognition that our self-sufficiency is inadequate.
  • is a search for life which is realized in personal communication with God.
  • is not simply about improvement in behavior or even being perfect, a psychological feeling, or strengthening our will. It is, rather, a change in our mode of existence by which we cease to trust in our own individuality.
  • is not individual feats or works of merit but a cry of trust and love from the depths of our abyss.
  • is our true Christmas preparation.
  • is how we cooperate with God in our own salvation.
  • is refusing to continue to settle for less than what God is offering.
  • manifests our desire for God.
  • is our response to God's desire for us.