Cottrell tells the Christmas story in reverse, starting with Anna and going back to the hopes of Isaiah and Moses. Each episode is imaginatively told. Cottrell notes that women have a key role to play in this drama, and he gives them preference (for example, beginning with Anna instead of Simeon).
C. S. Lewis placed the Christian story in the fantasy world of Narnia so that readers could encounter the story in a fresh way. Haverkamp uses Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia so others might experience Advent in a fresh way. The book grew out of an Advent series Haverkamp presented at her Episcopal Church.
The long line snaked past the shoe cubbies and head-covering bins. It terminated well outside the exhibit hall as hundreds of people ate—or waited to eat—lunch. Arriving a bit earlier or a bit later would have made no difference. Everyone wanted to be part of this spiritual practice, and we were no exception. Friendly young adults, dressed in white, moved down the line and cheerfully explained the history of the event. Soon enough, we were seated in a row on the floor. Another row of people sat facing us. One by one, servers brought trays: rice, curried vegetables, water, salad, a cup, utensils, mango lassi. Second and third helpings ensured that no one left hungry.
The Sikh community offered langar, which means “common kitchen,” to all 9,000-plus registrants at last week's Parliament of the World’s Religions.
How easy it is for Christians to sing hymns without pondering the meaning of the texts. Howell encourages us to slow down and take notice. For each week of Advent, he provides meditations on the texts of Advent hymns and Christmas carols, including some secular songs, to prepare readers for the coming of Christmas and to ponder the meaning of the incarnation.
Brian Darweesh and Reem Younes had a simple, civil wedding as Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They had fled from their homes in Syria due to violence and a threat on Darweesh’s life. Two Mennonite congregations in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sponsored their immigration to Canada. A little over a year after the civil wedding, the two Canadian congregations threw the couple a wedding ceremony, complete with a wedding dress for Younes and a Syrian dessert. “She married the man of her dreams . . . but [until now] she didn’t get to have the wedding of her dreams,” a congregational representative said (Mennonite World Review, October 16).