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Saturday, December 22, 2018

December 22, 2018


..extraordinary prayer experiences are not to be sought, nor are they indicators of greater knowledge of God.
–Susan Phillips

Today’s scripture

Sometimes interest in the Online Advent Calendar wanes by the third week, as the emails pile up and people shift into holiday mode, but not this year. I have heard from several readers that they have not especially liked the format of the OAC this year, preferring written reflections. However, the people who have engaged with it have done so consistently and with enthusiasm.

The image that appealed most to readers this week was the one of Jesus in traditional Jewish religious garb, though no one adverted to that in their comments, focusing instead on the easy-going, kind expression on his face. In general, commenters have liked gentler images, and disliked both the sterner ones and the ones with more masculine energy.

I have chosen deliberately not to include any information about the images, because I think it distracts from direct engagement with them. I was influenced in this by a book I mentioned last week, Images as Insight by Margaret R. Miles, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the history and theology of imagery in western Christianity.

Starting on Monday, Christmas Eve, there will be an image each day through January 1, and then a final one for this year on January 6, Epiphany. I invite you to pray with those images without words.

–Baya Clare CSJ

2 Comments leave one →
  1. hannah McGraw-Dzik permalink
    December 22, 2018 7:47 am

    I found looking at the new format wonderful. So refreshing to meet Jesus in a different way.

    I so am ish you would continue with daily thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  2. Linda Neil permalink
    December 22, 2018 10:08 am

    I love the lexio visio process! There are so many words and I tire of them. The images seem to go straight to the heart. Some of the images were jarring but had an important insight. The effeminate images of Jesus reminded me that Jesus really is an amazing balance of the masculine and feminine qualities. Those images were off-putting to me because Jesus was so white. It made me realize that for years we have made Jesus a white, European. I loved the black, Native and Latino images. The one that really touched me most was I believe Dec. 11, the image that had Jesus with all kinds of body art. At first, I said OMG – awful! But further reflection helped me to see that Jesus is marked by our needs, our concerns, our lives; he is truly one of us! The incarnation is REAL.
    Thanks, Baya, I loved doing this practice during Advent. It helped me to “see” so much about Jesus and myself!
    A blessed Christmas to you!
    Peace, Lin Neil, CSJ

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