Have an Epiphany!

Definition of epiphany

  1. capitalized :  January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ

  2.  an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being

  3.   (1) :  a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) :  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure  b :  a revealing scene or moment

Source: Epiphany | Definition of Epiphany by Merriam-Webster

All of these meanings apply to today and to the new season of the church year that we are entering!

Dave Barry’s 2016 Year in Review

Dave_BarryOne of my New Year’s Eve rituals is to read Dave Barry’s annual Year in Review.

The month-by-month breakdown helps me remember and sort of relive the year that is ending.  But it’s filtered through off-the-wall hilarity and on-target satire of all sides.

If you didn’t read it over the weekend, it’s not too late.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more…]

Happy New Year!

Thank you to all of my readers for being part of this blog last year.  Many blessings for 2017!

Here is what you can do:  Use the comments for this post to give your New Year’s resolutions.  Then you can come back next year and check them to see how you did.  Well, I can see that you might not want to do that.  Happy New Year anyway!

 

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Image from Pixabay, Creative Commons, Public Domain

 

The Name of Jesus

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).  So tomorrow, the 8th day after Christmas, which falls on New Year’s Day, the church year commemorates the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.

With the baby’s circumcision, He took upon Himself the burden of the Law, which He fulfilled on our behalf.  And with His naming, His identity and purpose are made clear.  “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.”  God saves.  His very name proclaims His divinity and His saving work.

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In  Sweden, Christmas means Donald Duck 

The_Spirit_of_43-Donald_Duck,_cropped_versionOdd Christmas customs department:  In Sweden, the country virtually shuts down on Christmas Eve at 3:00 p.m. so that everyone can watch a Donald Duck special from 1958.

The show consists of old cartoons from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, featuring Walt Disney’s duck, whom the Swedes call Kalle Anka.

After the jump, an excerpt and link to an account of the role Kalle Anka plays in the Swedish Christmas.

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Birth as the “moral fault line of our time”

Birth Born Newborn Baby Child Healthy Baby InfantChristmas is about birth, Kevin Williamson reminds us, which is what reminds us most of our physicality.  No wonder, he says, birth is also “the great political and moral fault line of our time.”

Consider all of the moral issues that have to do with birth, whether preventing it or negating it:  abortion, sex outside of marriage, pornography, today’s much vaunted fantasy of sex with robots.  Consider the political and ideological issues:  fears of overpopulation, health care, feminism, child poverty, education problems, child-raising controversies, embryonic stem cell research, reproductive engineering, adoption, divorce, marriage, family values.

Williamson says that our confused attitudes about birth tie into our confused attitudes about the body.  One can see in his examples the current gnostic revival, which denies the spiritual significance of the physical realm (as in being “spiritual but not religious”) and rejects the body (as in transgenderism and in the transhuman dream of downloading our minds into the internet so that we don’t need our bodies anymore).

Against the gnostic worldview, we have the Nativity–the conception, birth, and infancy of God Himself as a physical, embodied human being–and the Holy Family.
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