Sound Theology by Colleen Butcher

Women’s Christmas

Women’s Christmas

To most, today is the celebration of Epiphany: remembering the arrival of the Magi and the presentation of the Christ to the Gentiles. But in some circles, today is also known as “Women’s Christmas.” In particular, the Irish/Celtic tradition celebrates January 6 as the day when women gather together to relax and refresh after the busyness of the season and leave the household duties to the men. We’re told that Mary treasured up her thoughts and pondered them in her heart. What an amazing time it was for her and her new baby. I’m sure she also shared these events with her trusted friends, contemplating and conversing about all of the astonishing things that had happened. read more…

Advent 4: Waiting for Light

In the weeks before Christmas – as the days get shorter and the nights get longer – there is chill to the air that makes it difficult to remember the feeling of the light. In northern regions, it’s dark when you go to work and dark when you go home. The smallest light can bring hope and delight. A few years ago, I filled my front window with tiny battery-powered tea lights at the beginning of Advent and kept them lit until Epiphany. Night and day, week after week, in the darkest days of the year, I held vigil with tiny lights. Those candles represented persistence to me; the insistence that light would not be overcome by any darkness. I looked forward to coming home and seeing them peeking at me from the window. A neighbor commented that she liked those lights better than the ones on the outside of the other houses because she had a feeling that the tea lights represented love, flickering out to the neighborhood. read more…

Advent 3: Waiting in Darkness

Darkness can seep into our lives in many ways, regardless of the season or the time of year. And despite the festivity that is inherently part of preparing for Christmas, darkness – as a metaphor and as a lack of light – for many, pervades. read more…

Advent 2: Waiting in Chaos

This week’s music calls our attention to Mary, theotokos, the mother of God.

But, it has been a challenging search … where is Mary in our Advent and Christmas music? Surprisingly, she’s mostly absent. Michael Linton did the research and found that in reviewing the “texts of 381 English-language Christmas carols, Mary (or the “virgin,” or “mother,” or even “woman”) appears in only 27 percent of them. She’s slightly behind the angels and shepherds (who both are in 28 percent of the songs) but significantly ahead of the wise men (who come in at 13 percent). But Mary’s presence is even less than this low percentage at first suggests. Shepherds, angels, and the wise men are frequently mentioned in multiple verses of a carol. Mary typically is mentioned only once, and sometimes that reference is itself oblique.” read more…

Advent I: Let the Waiting Begin

Advent 1 – Let the Waiting Begin

Are you willing to wait? Are we willing to call our congregations to waiting?

Waiting is not unengaged, or disinterested; it is a seldom-practiced kind of engagement. One that is patient and persistent. read more…