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Scholarship with a Shepherd’s Heart

By Nathan Tarr, PhD In 1659, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony canceled Christmas. The purpose of this brief essay is to explore why they did so and what we—rightly looking forward to enjoying our Christmas traditions—can learn from their decision. We can work toward a helpful understanding of Puritan opposition to Christmas by…

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Advent begins with hope. Hope is one of those words that Christians use a lot, but we seldom take time to consider the idea. It is, after all, a tricky thing. Hope believes in better things even when everything points to the contrary, and it does so without succumbing to naïve optimism. We might hope…

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Among the Gospels, Mark offers the shortest Advent reflection of all—a mere three verses in his opening: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God. As it stands written in Isaiah, the prophet: “Look, I am sending my messenger before your face who will prepare your way, (Malachi 3:1), a voice crying in…

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Photo credit: Don Baltzer Merry Christmas from all of us at Phoenix Seminary! 6 For to us a child is born,     to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,     and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace     there will be…

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Selection of Simeon in the Temple, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1631

Luke has given us three prayers for Advent—the Magnificat, the Benedictus, and the Nunc Dimittis. This meditation focuses on the third; I intend to offer context for the focus (kavanah) we bring to the prayer. This section in Luke’s birth narrative of Jesus has four chiastic subunits: A         Piety of Parents (2:21–24) B          Simeon’s Piety…

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