Great Antiphons begin tomorrow!

It’s that time of year again – time for the final week of Advent, when the Church’s attention – liturgically speaking – finally turns toward the birth of Christ. (The Advent readings for the prior weeks are fascinating mix of apocalyptic visions and the bold prophetic work of John the Baptist.)

Today is the final day for using the general Advent antiphon, which I rather like:

“Drop down, you heavens, from above; and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let it bring forth salvation.”

This antiphon, like the more famous set that begins on 17 December, is cast as a plea to God, seeking salvation that comes both from heaven and earth. The Great Antiphons pick up this plea, but cast it in more specific and urgent terms until Christmas Eve, when the world hears the Good News – “Christ is born! Glorify him!”

Finally, if you need a moment of relief from the sanctimonious types (like this writer) constantly harping on the True Meaning of Christmas, perhaps you’ll enjoy this parody of The Worst Christmas Song Ever.

Horrified and Amused. But Mainly Horrified.

On yesterday’s Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson – in a fit of rage and disgust –  tossed his computer in a dumpster after discovering his house on Google Earth. If only it were so simple.

I’m sure it’s old news to you all, but the Way Back Machine from the Internet Archive is truly terrifying. It is an archive of Internet sites and a great way to waste a couple hours. Through it, I can re-read all the blog posts I lost from matthewstevenson.com when my host – jatol.com – mysteriously disappeared in 2007. Having done so, let me again (at least, I hope I’ve done this at least once before) apologize for my former self.

I’m sorry. What an arrogant prick I was. I understand why so many writers burn their correspondence before dying.

But not everything I was writing 3-7 years ago at MatthewStevenson.com makes me want to crawl under a rock in shame and embarrassment. No, I was marginally pleased with my former self a couple of times. While perusing those old thoughts, for instance,  I happen to re-read some of the posts that so thoroughly scandalized the leaders of my childhood church and for which I was eventually asked to leave. (See especially: “Sticking my head in the lion’s mouth” from March 2005, in which I was called to task for commending Mike Cope‘s defense of a visible role – not even leadership role, just a visible role – for women in the public worship of churches of Christ as “logical”. Also, I was scolded for referring to Mike Cope as my “brother.” Fun times.  Of course, now I’m an Episcopalian in the Diocese of Indianapolis, under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick.  God has a great sense of humor.

I also wanted to re-post my Advent reflection from 2006 (the year I began keeping the Church Year for reals). Here it is: Continue reading