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Christmas, Season of Wonder and Hope

Catherine Upchurch

It is not possible to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the very Son of God, in a single day. The church gives us a season—from Christmas eve to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord—to reflect with wonder on what God has done and is doing in our world. The gift of this child who would go on to give his very life for our salvation is the source of our hope in every age and through every storm. In Christmas, Season of Wonder and Hope, meditate with Catherine Upchurch on three New Testament passages that invite us to move through wonder to hope. Catherine Upchurch serves as the director of Little Rock Scripture Study and the general editor of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. She brings years of adult faith formation experience to her writing and speaking. She is an associate editor of The Bible Today, a regular contributor to Give Us This Day, and the author of Mary, Favored by God, Moses, Called and Equipped, and Hospitality, Welcoming the Stranger. Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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An Adult Christ at Christmas

Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories—Matthew 2 and Luke 2

Raymond E. Brown, SS

In this digest of his longer work, The Birth of the Messiah, Father Brown puts the adult Christ back into Christmas, treating the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke as the entire Gospel story in miniature.

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The Origins of Christmas

The Origins of Christmas

Revised Edition

Joseph F. Kelly

When was Christmas first celebrated? How did December 25 become the date for the feast? How did the Bible's "magi from the East" become three kings named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar who rode camels from three different continents to worship the newborn Christ? How did the Feast of the Nativity generate an entire liturgical season from Advent to Candlemas? Why did medieval and Renaissance artists portray Joseph as an old man? When did the first Christmas music appear? And who was the real Saint Nicholas?These and many other questions are answered in this revised and expanded edition of The Origins of Christmas. The story of the origins of Christmas is not well known, but it is a fascinating tale. It begins when the first Christians had little interest in Christ's Nativity, and it finishes when Christmas had become an integral part of Christian life and Western culture.The Origins of Christmas covers a variety of topics in a concise and accessible style, and is suitable for group discussions.Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, and History and Heresy are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.

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Seasons of the Spirit

Reflections on Finding God in Daily Life

E. Jane Rutter

Move your prayer life to a deeper level with these faith-filled, inspiring reflections. In Seasons of the Spirit, Jane Rutter guides you gently through the rhythms of the church's liturgical seasons including Advent, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time. She finds the "God moment" in the actions of daily life: a sports event, taking a walk, fixing cars, waiting in traffic jams, shopping, or canning salsa. Her conversational style reminds you of sharing a cup of coffee at a friend's kitchen table.Lifelong Catholics and new seekers alike will be touched by the simple beauty in these stories. Find a sense of peace from spending a few moments each day with this book as your prayer guide. You will discover anew the wonder of creation and refresh your spirit.E. Jane Rutter is Senior Campaign Manager at The Steier Group, a national fundraising and development firm. A Spanish speaker, she grew up in South America and is a former board member of the International Catholic Stewardship Council. She and her husband David have three children, a granddaughter, and are active in their parish of Sacred Heart.

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The Liturgical Year

Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (vol. 1)

Adrien Nocent, OSBIntroduced, Emended, and Annotated by Paul Turner

When Adrien Nocent's The Liturgical Year was published in the 1970s, it was the very first comprehensive commentary on the three-year lectionary in relation to the Sacramentary/Missal as these were revised following the Second Vatican Council. Expressed on nearly every page was Nocent's conviction that the liturgy and the Word of God proclaimed within it have something important to say to real people of every culture and time. He constantly returns to the question: What does this passage have to say to us today? Now this extraordinary work of applied, postconciliar liturgical scholarship has been revised and annotated by one of today's top liturgical scholars. Paul Turner has provided many helpful explanatory notes on history, culture, language, and, of course, liturgy. He has also updated the liturgical texts to conform to The Roman Missal, Third Edition. The result is a resource that promises to enrich and inspire a new generation of presiders, preachers, liturgy planners, and students.In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium, encounter the vibrant scholarship and pastoral wisdom of Adrien Nocent's The Liturgical Year again or for the first time!Volume 1 covers the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.Adrien Nocent, OSB (1913-1996), was a Belgian monk and professor at the Pontifical Atheneum of Saint Anselm in Rome. He served as a consultor for the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, working especially on the revision of Holy Week and of the Lectionary for Mass.Paul Turner is pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of many books on liturgy, including Let Us Pray: A Guide to the Rubrics of Sunday Mass; Glory in the Cross: Holy Week in the Third Edition of The Roman Missal; and When Other Christians Become Catholic, all from Liturgical Press. He is a former president of the North American Academy of Liturgy and is a member of Societas Liturgica and the Catholic Academy of Liturgy. He serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

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Dayspring from on High

Advent Prayer

Robert D. Eimer and Sarah A. O'Malley, OSB

In 1994 Pope John Paul II called for Christians to prepare for the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus. In 1997-99, the Church entered into an immediate period of preparation—a three- year Advent in order that the year 2000 might spiritually be a special "year of grace." In these years of preparation, the Pope emphasized the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love plus the virtue of justice. Inspired by the Pope's challenge, Dayspring from on High is a distinctive Advent devotional: the four weeks of Advent have been divided thematically, beginning with Week One, the virtue of faith; Week Two, the virtue of hope; Week Three, the virtue of justice; and culminating in Week Four with the virtue of love. Dayspring from on High includes some traditional elements like the lighting of the Advent candle and singing or reciting “Come, O Come Emmanuel.” A brief quote from Pope John Paul II is the focus of each day’s prayer. In addition, the service invites the reader to more personal prayer, which includes a reflection, a resolution, a Scripture reading, and petitions. The service ends with a contemporary profession of faith. Individuals, families, and those involved in the RCIA will find Dayspring from on High a unique way to enter wholeheartedly into the Advent of the third millennium. Robert Eimer published his first book, Tilted Haloes, in 1964. He has served as pastor in St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota. He has collaborated with Sarah O'Malley, OSB, in writing several works, including Journey of Decision, Unless You Take Up Your Cross, and Prayer Services for Parish Councils, published by The Liturgical Press. Sarah O'Malley, OSB, is director of pastoral care at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix, Arizona.

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The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels

Joseph F. Kelly

In his previous book The Origins of Christmas, Joseph F. Kelly answers common questions about the development of Christmas rituals and legends, and explores the history of the holiday. In this book Kelly turns to the infancy narratives to see what the New Testament tells us about the Nativity. Readers will likely discover that their Christmas celebrations, cards, pageants, and crèches are often combinations and embellishments of the gospel narratives. Yet each of these narratives is quite distinct, reflecting the author’s talents and audience. In this practical book readers will: Encounter the stories in their gospel contexts and learn about the issues facing the early Christians as the gospels were being written. See the difference between the educator Matthew’s approach for an audience of Jewish converts and the great literary artist Luke writing for a primarily Gentile audience. Look beyond the literal level of the stories to what it means that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, who came to live in the family of a carpenter and his wife Mary. Recognize the infancy narratives as an invitation to meet Jesus Christ, king and savior, arrived to fulfill God’s plan on earth for all people. Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is author of The Origins of Christmas, An Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics, The Collegeville Church History Timeline, and The Ecumenical Councils (forthcoming), all published by Liturgical Press.

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Advent to Pentecost

Comparing the Seasons in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite

Patrick Regan, OSB Foreword by Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin

Since 2007, use of the Roman Missal of 1962 has been broadly permitted within the church. This creates, in effect, two liturgical years running concurrently. In Advent to Pentecost, Abbot Patrick Regan compares the prayers and prefaces, readings and rubrics, calendar and chants of the 1962 Missal with those of the Missal as it was revised following the Second Vatican Council, now in its third edition. The result is a striking demonstration of the splendor and superiority of the reformed Missal over its predecessor, at least as far as the liturgical year is concerned. Regan's chapters on Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season are particularly informative because these seasons are so different in the two missals. Perhaps less obvious are the differences between Holy Week and the Triduum. Regan not only describes external modifications in the services as restored by Pius XII in 1956 but explores deeper theological currents, especially in the relationship between the passion and resurrection of the Lord in the one paschal mystery, to show how advances in this area find expression in the current Triduum celebrations and throughout the fifty days of Easter. The originality of the book lies mainly here. The most urgent liturgical challenge today, the author contends, is to raise the ars celebrandi to the same level of excellence as the Missal itself. Patrick Regan, OSB, is professor of liturgy and sacramental theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm. He was abbot of his community, Saint Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, for almost twenty years.

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The Family Advent Wreath

Blessings and Prayers

Jay Cormier

The history of the Advent wreath, its origin in pagan times and conversion to Christian use, construction and blessing of a wreath, how parents and children - or any group - may offer a three-minute prayer service during each week of Advent and on Christmas Eve - all this and more form the content of this leaflet.

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Leaflet

Price: $0.35

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The Origins of Christmas

Revised Edition

Joseph F. Kelly

When was Christmas first celebrated? How did December 25 become the date for the feast? How did the Bible's "magi from the East" become three kings named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar who rode camels from three different continents to worship the newborn Christ? How did the Feast of the Nativity generate an entire liturgical season from Advent to Candlemas? Why did medieval and Renaissance artists portray Joseph as an old man? When did the first Christmas music appear? And who was the real Saint Nicholas?These and many other questions are answered in this revised and expanded edition of The Origins of Christmas. The story of the origins of Christmas is not well known, but it is a fascinating tale. It begins when the first Christians had little interest in Christ's Nativity, and it finishes when Christmas had become an integral part of Christian life and Western culture.The Origins of Christmas covers a variety of topics in a concise and accessible style, and is suitable for group discussions.Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, and History and Heresy are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.

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Price: $18.95

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Seasons of the Spirit

Reflections on Finding God in Daily Life

E. Jane Rutter

Move your prayer life to a deeper level with these faith-filled, inspiring reflections. In Seasons of the Spirit, Jane Rutter guides you gently through the rhythms of the church's liturgical seasons including Advent, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time. She finds the "God moment" in the actions of daily life: a sports event, taking a walk, fixing cars, waiting in traffic jams, shopping, or canning salsa. Her conversational style reminds you of sharing a cup of coffee at a friend's kitchen table.Lifelong Catholics and new seekers alike will be touched by the simple beauty in these stories. Find a sense of peace from spending a few moments each day with this book as your prayer guide. You will discover anew the wonder of creation and refresh your spirit.E. Jane Rutter is Senior Campaign Manager at The Steier Group, a national fundraising and development firm. A Spanish speaker, she grew up in South America and is a former board member of the International Catholic Stewardship Council. She and her husband David have three children, a granddaughter, and are active in their parish of Sacred Heart.

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Price: $4.99

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The Feast of Christmas

Joseph F. Kelly

Many Christians struggle to balance the religious and secular elements of Christmas, but the history of the feast shows that this is nothing new. The religious Christmas has changed over the centuries and, contrary to many critics, is thriving today. This brief, accessible account will explain that: The first Christians did not celebrate Christmas at all. The earliest mention of the feast occurs in the fourth century. In the Middle Ages Christmas moved into northern Europe where it became a major winter festival, competing with the pagan Yule. During the sixteenth century some Christians objected to Christmas because they claimed it had no biblical foundation. In England and New England the Puritans made it a crime to celebrate it! The modern secular Christmas arose in the nineteenth century, but the religious Christmas continued to grow in popularity and meshed well with the developing emphasis on Christmas as a day for family and friends. In today's world, rampant consumerism threatens the religious Christmas, but it continues not only to survive but to flourish, taking on new life and new forms. By tracing these and other aspects of the religious celebration of Christmas through the centuries, Joseph F. Kelly does much more than provide us with interesting facts. He reassures us that though the religious Christmas may not be in its traditional form, it is indeed alive and well, and has a bright and promising future. Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is author of The Origins of Christmas, An Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics, The Collegeville Church History Timeline, The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels, and The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, all published by Liturgical Press.

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Price: $14.95

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Advent to Pentecost

Comparing the Seasons in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite

Patrick Regan, OSB Foreword by Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin

Since 2007, use of the Roman Missal of 1962 has been broadly permitted within the church. This creates, in effect, two liturgical years running concurrently. In Advent to Pentecost, Abbot Patrick Regan compares the prayers and prefaces, readings and rubrics, calendar and chants of the 1962 Missal with those of the Missal as it was revised following the Second Vatican Council, now in its third edition. The result is a striking demonstration of the splendor and superiority of the reformed Missal over its predecessor, at least as far as the liturgical year is concerned. Regan's chapters on Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season are particularly informative because these seasons are so different in the two missals. Perhaps less obvious are the differences between Holy Week and the Triduum. Regan not only describes external modifications in the services as restored by Pius XII in 1956 but explores deeper theological currents, especially in the relationship between the passion and resurrection of the Lord in the one paschal mystery, to show how advances in this area find expression in the current Triduum celebrations and throughout the fifty days of Easter. The originality of the book lies mainly here. The most urgent liturgical challenge today, the author contends, is to raise the ars celebrandi to the same level of excellence as the Missal itself. Patrick Regan, OSB, is professor of liturgy and sacramental theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm. He was abbot of his community, Saint Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, for almost twenty years.

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The Season of Light

Daily Prayer for the Lighting of the Advent Wreath

Jay Cormier

The Season of Light is a guide for families, households, classrooms, communities, and parishes who wish to make the lighting of the Advent candles a daily prayer. For each day of the season, from the First Sunday of Advent until Christmas Day, The Season of Light offers a brief liturgy that is based on the structure of Vespers or Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours: the lighting of the candles (the "lucernarium"), a reading from the Advent Scriptures, petitions and collect, and a final blessing. The Advent wreath is one of the most enduring customs of the Christmas season. Rich in meaning, the four lights of the Advent wreath kindle "our blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13). It is a symbol of our faith: that light and life will triumph over darkness and death, that our hope in God's providence and love will never leave us disappointed. With this rich tradition in mind, Jay Cormier has structured the daily liturgies in The Season of Light as follows: "The Lucernarium," the lighting of the candle(s); "The Word of God," in which a lector reads a Scripture passage that reflects the Advent themes of joyful expectation and the restoration of justice and peace in the dawning of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World; and "Prayers," in which the presider or leader offers petitions and all respond. Then the Lord's Prayer is recited, and the final collect and the blessing (including a scriptural blessing and a table blessing before meals) are offered by the presider. The structure and prayers in The Season of Light are offered as suggestions; adaptions are encouraged. For example, families may wish to make the intercessions an opportunity for spontaneous prayers offered by participants; groups with musical ability and leadership may want to incorporate hymns from the rich treasury of Advent and Christian hymnody; those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly might consider including the Advent wreath custom with the psalms and prayers of the Hours. Designed for all those who wish to make the Advent wreath a daily prayer and part of their Christmas observance and tradition, The Season of Light helps Christians celebrate that we are an Advent people: a people who live in the eternal hope and expectation of the ever-burning light of Jesus Christ. Jay Cormier is the editor of Connections, a newsletter of ideas and resources for homilists. The Liturgical Press has also published his Lord, Hear Our Prayer: The Prayer of the Faithful for Sundays, Holy Days, and Ritual Masses and The Family Advent Wreath: Blessings and Prayers.

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Rejoicing with the Prophets

Marci Alborghetti

For Christians, Advent is a time of joyous expectation, and none among God's people had a more fervent anticipation of the Messiah than the prophets. This series of daily reflections will explore how the prophets predicted and described Christ's coming and his impact on the world then and today in ways that will be meaningful for readers as they anticipate Christmas. Each reflection in Rejoicing with the Prophets includes a brief Scripture quote and prayer designed for those who wish to experience a more spiritual and deeply relevant Advent and Christmas season.Marci Alborghetti is the author of 18 books published internationally. Her most recent titles include The Miracle of the Myrrh and The Christmas Glass. She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, divide their time between New London, Connecticut, and Oakland, California, where they are members of an African American Catholic Church, Saint Columba. She is also a contributor to Daily Guideposts.

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