Archive for December, 2012

Advent 13: More Bethlehem

Posted: December 23, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, revive
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This is remarkable:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQDl95tOcU&feature=player_embedded

Advent 12: Gold (Wow Joelle!)

Posted: December 21, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, revive
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GoldSouk

I took this picture in the Gold Souk in Dubai. The place is literally luminous with the yellowest gold jewellery, and they try and convince you it’s the best price for the best quality in the world. Neither of which I think are entirely true – but it sure is readily available in this part of the world….

 

Which got me thinking…

 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”  (Matthew 2)

 

So, what’s the significance of the gifts?

 

The importance of the gifts was the message that each one conveyed about Jesus. The gold represented the fact that Jesus was royal. The frankincense supports the claim that Jesus is divine and the myrrh was for the importance of the mortality of Jesus.

 

(http://www.helium.com/items/1258365-meaning-behind-the-gifts-of-the-wise-men)

 

Gold – A precious commodity signifying the coming of a King… 

 

Gold is quite rare – even today (which surprised me). It  doesn’t tarnish, is the most stable (non reactive) of elements, malleable (a little goes a long way) and is distinctive in colour… 

I can see the symbolism there.

 

And yet I thought that perhaps in today’s world it was losing it’s significance…. maybe not so after all.

 

 

Post script: Gold “Fun Facts”

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/qi/8667421/QI-Quite-interesting-facts-about-gold.html)

Christmas is really

for the children.

Especially for children

who like animals, stables,

stars and babies wrapped

in swaddling clothes.

Then there are wise men,

kings in fine robes,

humble shepherds and a

hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really

for the children

unless accompanied by

a cream filled egg.

It has whips, blood, nails,

a spear and allegations

of body snatching.

It involves politics, God

and the sins of the world.

It is not good for people

of a nervous disposition.

They would do better to

think on rabbits, chickens

and the first snowdrop

of spring.

Or they’d do better to

wait for a re-run of Christmas without asking

too many questions about

what Jesus did when he grew up

or whether there’s any connection.

Advent 10: More Magi (discovered by Ian B)

Posted: December 20, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, revive
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If the three wise men had a hovercar that could move at highway speed over land and water (it’s in the gnostic gospels somewhere) and decided to follow Venus, they’d take a particularly weird path

http://what-if.xkcd.com/25/

Advent 9: The Magi (Thanks Clare. And T S Eliot)

Posted: December 18, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, Quotes, revive
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The Journey of the Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.”

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we lead all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Advent 8: Joseph (Thanks Clare)

Posted: December 18, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, revive
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I’ve been reading about Joseph as well, here http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/St_Joseph_Jesus_Earthly_Father

interesting when juxtaposed with a quote from Life of Pi: “to choose faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love”

When St. Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancée’s pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature… as evidence of supernatural power…

…the grounds for belief and disbelief are the same to-day as they were two thousand – or ten thousand – years ago. If St. Joseph had lacked faith to trust God or humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved in the miraculous origin of her Son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes in God can accept the miracle as easily as St. Joseph did…

Advent 7: The angelic host (Thanks Ian)

Posted: December 16, 2012 by reviveleeds in Advent, revive
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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 

Sorry this is late, we have been in Grassington all weekend. There is not a drop of phone reception or WiFi – it was amazing! We were staying in a little cottage surrounded by fields. Whilst out walking after dark I noticed that one farmer had decorated an actual stable as a nativity scene, which really put things into context. In these times of instant communication – text messages, whatsapp, imessage, skype, etc, sometimes a serious message requires a serious medium. The host on a sunday radio show this morning commentated that she had received an actual letter from a listener, sent in an envelope with a stamp. This was unusual enough to stand out. In an ancient time when messages took days, weeks and months to travel to the recipient, big news required a big effort to communicate, something special to remember. Maybe the heavenly host is the ultimate message delivery medium for the ultimate message.