Daily Archives: December 26, 2011

Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archbishop, bearing Christmas gifts, visits Men's Central Jail

Santa, as usual, was a no-show at the Men’s Central Jail.

In his place Sunday came three presumably wise men ”” Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Sheriff’s Capt. Ralph Ornelas, making their way down long, dimly lit rows of cellblocks to dispense Christmas cheer. At least, as much as was possible in a place where one day is pretty much like the last.

“Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!” Gomez proclaimed over and over as he walked down the line of narrow, cramped cells, trailed by volunteer carolers. At each cell, he slipped through the bars a copy of “Tattoos on the Heart,” a book of modern parables by Father Gregory Boyle, the Jesuit founder of Homeboy Industries in East L.A.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry, Roman Catholic

Happy Boxing Day to All Blog Readers

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

A Prayer for Christmas

Almighty God,
you gave your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him,
and be born of the Virgin Mary;
grant that we, who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Glimpse of Christmas Day at the Harmons 2011

Our wonderful oldest daughter Abigail, with Temah, our Toy Maltese.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Harmon Family

O Night Divine

O NIGHT DIVINE from Eliot Rausch + Phos Pictures on Vimeo.

Another Vimeo winner I think; watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Media, Music

BBC–In pictures: Christmas celebrations around the world in 2011

Enjoy all ten of them; they begin in Iraq.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Globalization, Religion & Culture

The Archbishop of York's 2011 Christmas Sermon

…[How] then are we to…[approach]… this King Jesus?….[In part] by understanding the significance of the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem is not only the Kingly City of David. It is called the ”˜house of bread’. How fitting that the ”˜Bread of Life’, the ”˜Bread of Heaven’, was born in that city. How fitting that this king of peace would give his own life, his own flesh to feed the hungry with bread. He who would spiritually feed the world with the sacrifice of his flesh, was born in the ”˜House of Bread’.

St Bede says this of Jesus’ manger throne ”“ a cattle’s feeding and drinking trough: “He, whose throne is in the heavens, confined to the narrowness of a manger, so that he might open wide to us the joys of his eternal kingdom. He that is the Bread of Angels, reclines in a manger, that we as sanctified beasts might be fed the corn of his flesh.”

And St Cyril says: “He found that man had become a beast in his soul, and so he is placed in the manger, in the place of fodder, that we, changing from our animal way of living, may be led back to the wisdom that becomes humanity: stretching out, not towards animal fodder, but to the heavenly Bread of Life of his body.”

Let us turn from our beastly ways and turn to the God who shows us what it is to be human….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

John Chrysostom In Perhaps the First Christmas Sermon Ever

I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.

The Angels sing!

The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!

The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!

The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, he had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God.

This day He Who Is, is Born; and He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became he God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead.

And behold,

Kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory;
Soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child-birth into joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy;
Infants, that they may adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, He might perfect praise;
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech;
Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men;
Publicans, to Him Who from amongst them named a chosen Evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant;

And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.

Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, not shaking the Thyrsian staff, not with the music of pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ.

For this is all my hope, this my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing:

Glory to God in the Highest; and with the shepherds:
and on earth peace to men of good will

–From Antioch in 386 A.D.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

The Gloucester Cathedral Choir sings In the Bleak Midwinter

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Music