First we celebrated Advent, the 40 day period leading up to Christmas, complete with frenzied shopping and partying. (BTW, it seems that the commercial “Christmas” season starts earlier every year. I saw Christmas in stores in early October this year!) Now we are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, ending with Epiphany on January 6. 12 days of Christmas? I thought that was just a song? Well, it is, but it stands for a very real, and now very expensive, tradition.
The ’12 Days of Christmas’ Costs a Little More This Year
This year it’ll cost a little more if you want to put everything from the “12 Days of Christmas” song under your tree. The complete set of prices for buying everything in the song from a physical store is as follows:
Partridge, $20; last year: $25
Pear tree, $190; last year: same
Two turtle doves, $375; last year: $290
Three French hens, $182; last year: same
Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same
Five gold rings, $750; last year: same
Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: same
Seven swans a-swimming, $13,125; last year: same
Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same
Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same
10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,509; last year: same
11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,708; last year: $2,635
12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,934; last year: $2,855
According to Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait, writing for Christianity Today, the “real” 12 days of Christmas are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the the birth of Jesus means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world God made, in the form of a baby. December 26 is the feast of St. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor. St. John the Evangelist, commemorated on December 27, is traditionally the only one of the twelve disciples who did not die a martyr. On December 28, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the children murdered by Herod.
Finally, on Epiphany (January 6), the celebration of Christmas comes to an end. “Twelfth Night” (as all lovers of Shakespeare know) is the ultimate celebration of Christmas madness (Shakespeare’s play features one of his many “wise fools” who understand the real meaning of life better than those who think they are sane). Epiphany commemorates the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel—Christ’s manifestation to the nations, as shown in three different events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the turning of water into wine. In the Western tradition, the Magi predominate. But in the Eastern churches, Jesus’ baptism tends to be the primary theme. Read the complete article here.
SITE OF MOSES’ DEATH REOPENS AFTER 10-YEAR-LONG RESTORATION PROCESS
Moses, one of the most of the important figures to Jews, Christians and Muslims for his pivotal role in shaping the Abrahamic tradition, was tragically forbidden by God to enter the Holy Land. After guiding the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and taking them to the Promised Land, the prophet was given only a glimpse of the Holy Land from atop Mount Nebo, where he died soon after. Now, this site which is important for the adherents of Abrahamic religions historically as well as spiritually, has been restored and is now open.
But Joy Comes in the Morning: A Sermon on Hope Amid Our Fearful State of Race and Politics
Jim Wallis Christian leader for social change; President and Founder @Sojourners
Politics will not be enough to confront this 2016 election. We will also need a spiritual message. There are gospel issues at stake here, particularly on the issues of race, with America’s original sin now being sold as a political strategy to angry white people. Racism is being incited and condoned, and now violence is being incited and condoned. So we will need to bring what Archbishop Desmond Tutu once called “a spirituality of transformation.” I remember when he preached that message from the pulpit of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. I had the blessing of preaching from that same pulpit this past Sunday, and I wanted to share the sermon I preached with you. Polls won’t be enough anymore for this election. We are going to need sermons. Here’s one.
What does the Word of God mean in our lives and our times? That is always the question for us as the people of God. How does the narrative of the Word of God change our narrative?
My wife, Joy Carroll was one of the first women ordained in the Church of England — she is a Brit! And in the U.K., she is well known as the Real Vicar of Dibley (after the hit television show in which she was the script consultant).
One summer we went to the Greenbelt Festival, where we had first met, with our 4-year-old son, Luke. Joy was up on the stage celebrating the Eucharist for 25,000 British young people. My young son, sitting on my lap, was watching his mom lead the service. She would speak and people would respond, “The Lord be with you … and also with you. She would ask them to do things and they would. After watching this for a while, Luke looked up at me and asked. “Dad, can men do that too?” Women in ministry are changing the narrative in the church, the society, and in our families.
Read the entire sermon HERE. Watch the video in the sidebar.
HARTFORD (03/09/2016) — When do five churches of the Connecticut Conference, UCC spend one evening together for five weeks in a row? Not often, but it is happening in Hartford during this Season of Lent.
The Hartford UCC Multi-Church Lenten Bible Study began on February 25 and continues each Thursday evening until March 17. The collaborative study rotates locations to each of the five churches involved. The first three sessions were held at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Faith Congregational Church, and Immanuel Congregational Church. The Lenten study will continue at Center Congregational Church, UCC, on March 10, and Warburton Community Congregational Church on March 17.
The series of bible studies, titled “Jesus and Justice,” emerged from the congenial relationships between the five churches’ pastors and an effort to find a common ministry in which the congregations could engage.
“Justice is not a me thing, it’s a we thing,” said Rev. Matthew Laney, pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, at the March 3rd study. “You can’t be a Christian on your own. You can’t follow Jesus on your own. We can’t do justice on our own.” Read more here.