How should progressive Christians approach Advent in light of twenty-first century knowledge? The following are four meditations based on the Annunciation account in Luke 1:
(1) “Magnificat! Learning to Sing Mary’s Song” – An excerpt: How are you being called to sing new lyrics to Mary’s Song — of hope and peace and joy and love — this Christmas and in the new year so that your soul may ever more fully magnify God?”
(2) “A Performance of Those Things Which Were Told“ – An excerpt: The way we move through life, the way we interact with the world, the way we approach our place in the universe is the way that we dance with God.
(3) “Let It Be” – An excerpt: “What would Christianity look like if the focus were birth, not death; human flourishing, not suffering; and this world, not the next?” How is God inviting you in the coming days and weeks to echo some form of Mary’s words of humble openness and acceptance: “Yes, I see. I’m ready. Let it be with me just as you say.”
(4) “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” – An excerpt: How is God calling you this Advent season to slow down, open your eyes in wonder, expectantly wait for is already in the process of being born?
More Resources for a More Meaningful Advent and Christmas Season
- Grace Jantzen, Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion.
- Kenda Creasy Dean, The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry. Dean develops many of these themes in relation to the church “birthing” youth through the lens of the Eastern Orthodox theological lens of our call to imitate Mary’s role as theotokos or “God-bearer.”
- Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Birth.
- Michael Slaughter, Christmas Is Not Your Birthday: Experience the Joy of Living and Giving like Jesus.
- Anna Getty, I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More.
- Bill McKibben, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas.
- Jo Robinson, Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season.
- Rick McKinley, et al, Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World?
- The Advent Conspiracy: www.adventconspiracy.org
- New American Dream, “Simplify the Holidays”: www.newdream.org/holiday
- “Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture”:www.newdream.org/kids/kids-brochure.pdf
- Buy Nothing Christmas www.buynothingchristmas.org.