Explaining Advent

photo-1421906375741-f6bda4abe433_optHappy New Year!  That is to say, Happy Advent, the beginning of the new church year.

Many Christians, including those from churches that haven’t usually done much with the church year other than Christmas and Easter, are discovering Advent.  (See, for example, this piece from the evangelical radio program Breakpoint.)

After the jump is an excellent explanation of the season from the website of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

The meaning of Advent has some specific content beyond just getting ready for Christmas.  As the website says, the season–in the Bible readings and the devotions for the days–the season reflects on the “advent” or “coming” of Christ in three senses:

  1. In the past (the prophecies of Christ’s coming)
  2. In the future (Christ’s second coming)
  3. In the present (How Christ comes today)

[Read more…]

Thanksgiving in Australia

It’s strange being in Australia for Thanksgiving.  We’re getting together with some other expatriate Americans, but since no one gets off work for Thursday, we’re going to have our big meal on Saturday.  Though since American Thursday is Australian Friday, we’re off anyway.  Scrounging all over town for Turkey, cranberries, cornmeal (for dressing), and other staples also gives a new dimension to the feast, but I think we have found everything.  We certainly have a lot to be thankful about, so we can remember those things even on the other side of the world.

So may you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Dependence Day

July 4 is Independence Day.  Thanksgiving is Dependence Day, a time to remember how dependent we are on God and on each other.  And our appreciation of this dependence is gratitude.

After the jump, a post by one of my ex-students quoting one of my ex-colleagues. [Read more…]

Christ the King

Crucifixion_Grunewald_optHispanic martyrs put before the firing squads by socialist dictators would call out as their last words “Viva el Cristo rey!” Long live Christ the King! Or, Christ the King lives!  That’s a good phrase to keep in mind.

Yesterday was the last Sunday of the Church Year, also known, among other names, as Christ the King Sunday.  As a conclusion to our recent series of posts on Two Kingdom theology, we need to remember who is the King of both Kingdoms.

After the jump, a bulletin note on Christ’s kingship from Pilgrim Lutheran Church here in Australia. [Read more…]

Merry Veterans Day

Thank you, veterans, for serving all of us.

A grateful nation offers you all kinds of freebies today.  That is, certain businesses are giving veterans free lunches, free drinks, etc.  Go here for a list.

Australia notes:  Guy Fawkes Day

On Saturday night, here in Australia, fireworks started going off everywhere.  It dawned on my daughter the lines “Remember, remember/the Fifth of November.”  It was Guy Fawkes day!

The old boy is burned in effigy and explosions are set off in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot, in which a band of Catholic terrorists packed the basement of Parliament with gunpowder with the idea of blowing up the English government and killing King James. [Read more…]