ADVENT & The tradition of child bishops teaches the meaning of the Magnificat. #creativity #GoodTheology #AdventMeaning

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Here is another unique way to share the theology of Advent. At this time of year when people are more likely to attend church, the decorations and the consumerism can sometimes cloud the supernatural power of God sending his son to earth as a child. Here is how one church helps emphasize the theology behind Christ’s Advent.

by Chris Karnadi, Faith & Leadership, 12/10/19.

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Last December, 10-year-old Prakash Keeley proudly donned the gold-and-white bishop’s robe and miter, gripped a staff that towered over him by a half-foot, and blessed a kneeling congregation with the words of Jesus: “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall never enter it.”

Since 2012, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has annually enthroned a fifth grade boy such as Keeley, giving him bishop’s regalia and letting him lead the service for the Dec. 6 Feast of St. Nicholas. The tradition of the “boy bishop,” with roots dating back to medieval times, emphasizes the upside-down aspect of the Advent season.

The making of boy bishops, if only for a service, illustrates the words of the Magnificat in a physical way: “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52 NRSV).

Read more at … https://faithandleadership.com/tradition-child-bishops-teaches-meaning-magnificat

CHRISTMAS & Christmas A Non-Religious Holiday For Half Of Americans #PewResearch #InfoGraphic

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This research shows that Christmas is increasingly becoming a cultural holiday and that most people say their church attendance on Christmas has declined almost 25% since they were children. This is a reminder to the church that marketplace forces are eroding our primary celebratory occasions. To offset this it’s important for church leaders to understand and to increase market differentiation. This means reminding people about the difference between the cultural holiday and the religious one, e.g. maybe fewer singing Christmas trees and more focus of the manger scene.”

By Pew Research, 12/3/13christmas2013-1Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday. In addition, fully eight-in-ten non-Christians in America also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.

christmas2013-2… But fewer Americans say they will send Christmas or holiday cards this year than say their families typically did this when they were children.

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The share of people who plan to go caroling this year also is lower than the share who say they typically did so as children. And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.

Read more at … http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/18/celebrating-christmas-and-the-holidays-then-and-now/