|Posted by communications on December 2, 2020 at 3:15 PM|
We don’t generally think of Advent as a time of intentional spirituality in quite the same way as we do Lent. December tends to be a frenzy of activity, with little time left for anything but decorating, gift buying, holiday parties, and end-of-year responsibilities. Some of this remains the same this Advent, but we are being forced into a pared-down version of the “Christmas craziness” this year. Perhaps we can take this as an opportunity for a more spiritually nourishing Advent.
One way of doing this would be to join us in reading Walter Brueggeman’s book Names for the Messiah: An Advent Study. It is a small book that could easily be read in one sitting but is intended to be read slowly and reflected upon over the course of the Advent season. It is available from several on-line book sellers in hard copy or e-book version I will be facilitating a conversation about this book on Sunday, December 27th at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom (link to be provided closer to the time).
Brueggeman, considered one the foremost contemporary Old Testament scholars, bases this book on the familiar words of Isaiah 9:6 – familiar largely because of Handel’s Messiah:
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In their original 8th century B.C.E. context these words, rather than being a prediction about Jesus, were probably offered to celebrate the coronation of a new king of Judah (Hezekiah). Later, early Christians came to understand them as a reference to the Messiah, thereby understanding the four honorific titles to be prescient descriptors of Jesus. Brueggeman invites us to join him in reflecting on these four titles as they relate to Jesus. In so doing he offers some profound and timeless thoughts about Jesus’ identity and purpose. He also provides some important and highly relevant questions for us and our time.
Though we are already several days into Advent, it is not too late to get yourself a copy of this book. It’s divided into four weeks, but you can read it at a pace that works for you. I hope you will consider taking advantage of this opportunity to go a little deeper during this very different Advent. Even if you are not able to join us for conversation on the 27th, I encourage you to read the book. I’m confident that it will enrich your celebration of Christmas.
P.S. You could also take this Advent, which is the beginning to a new Church Year, to add some prayer time to your life. I continue to lead both Morning Prayer (8:30 a.m.) and Centering Prayer (4:30 p.m.), Monday through Thursday via Zoom. You may join me any time your schedule allows.
The link is the same for both: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9497600098
Yours in Christ,