Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday MixTape: Advent, 3

Welcome to Monday Mix Tape, in which I pretend I'm Ira Glass.  You know, I choose a theme and share with you several variations on the theme from the worlds of art, faith and culture.  To keep up the fun little facade of making a weekly mix tape, I label each of these finds as "track 1". "track 2" and so on (and just like the stack of mixtapes you've got hidden in a box in your attic, you never know when you might see some love song from Journey or Lionel Richie show up here).

Today's mix continues in the marking of Advent.  Over the four weeks I'll be sharing many of the ways my family and I are trying to step out of our own tyranny of the urgent and step into the alternate universe of kingdom time. Won't you join us in this counter-cultural, counter-consumeristic, counter-Church-as-therapy, counter-instant gratification, counter-mass media experiment?

Week three is about joy.  We've hope-giggled and home-bodied.  Now we heart-open, prepare room.  Consider the cost of making space for the work of God-With-Us, in us and through us.  And in His upside-down ways we make space by making light and making plain.  By remembering our poverty in all things:  material, relational, spiritual.  We rehearse the world-changing Sermon,  learning the meaning of "poor in spirit" because we know for certain we want to be one of those who sees God!  

A mixtape of images, sounds, words that are helping me enter these truths, common objects afire with God....

track 1:  visual art

Altarpiece of the Annunciation


by Fra Angelico

Much of the artwork I've been enjoying this Advent has been directly inspired in our nightly readings in Advent and Christmas Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton.  For example, this Fra Angelico work is not only rendered on the cover of the book, but Chesterton's own review is included in the Day 12 reading, Levity and Levitation:
"Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. This has always been the instinct of Christendom, and espeically the instinct of Christian art. Remember how Fra Angelico represented all his angels, not only as birds, but almost as butterflies. Remember how the most earnest medieval art was full of light and fluttering draperies, of quick and capering feet...In the old Christian pictures the sky over every figure is like a blue or gold parachute. Every figure seems ready to fly up and float about in the heavens. The tattered cloak of the beggar will bear him up like the rayed plumes of the angels. But the kings in their heavy gold and the proud in their robes of purple will all of their nature sink downwards, for pride cannot rise to levity or levitation. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One "settles down" into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness. A man "falls" into a brown study; he reaches up at a blue sky."
-- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

track 2:  music 

Medieval Christmas by Tamara Murphy on Grooveshark

Keeping with the medieval era, an artist and album new to me:  Kemper Crabb's A Medieval Christmas.  Bring on the flute and lyre, dance lightly and raise a glass in celebration of the God who saved the world through the lineage of the Son of Laughter.

I wanted to highlight this song from the album, not only because of the beautiful use of medieval instrumentation, also because of the refrain, I love my Lord Jesus above anything....

Let All Mortal Flesh by Kemper Crabb on Grooveshark

track 3:  poetry

Speaking of raising a glass, we can thank the English middle ages for the gift of wassail.  Certainly we don't keep the tradition well; I should say, we keep well the spirit of the tradition, travelling from house to house being fed and wished well.  But what about the part of the tradition that recognizes the source of our good food and drink, wassailing the fruit trees and farm animals?  (Kind of makes me think about this book we read together at Christ Church back in the fall.)

Wassail, Wassail (via Simplify Christmas)
Wassail, Wassail, all over the town!
Our toast it is white, and our ale it is brown,
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
So here is to Cherry and to his right cheek,
Pray God send our master a good piece of beef,
And good piece of beef that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
And here is to Dobbin and to his right eye,
Pray God send our master a good Christmas pie,
And good Christmas pie that may we all see;
With our wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
So here is to Broad May and her broad horn,
May God send our master a good crop of corn,
And a good crop of corn that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
And here is to Fillpail and her left ear,
Pray God send our master a happy New Year,
And a happy New Year as e’er he did see;
With our wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
And here is to Colly and to her long tail,
Pray God send our master he never may fail,
A bowl of strong beer; I pray you draw near,
And our jolly wassail it’s then you shall hear.
Come butler, come fill us a bowl of the best,
Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest;
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small,
Then down shall go butler, bowl and all.
Then here’s to the maid in the lily white smock,
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock!
Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin,
For to let these jolly wassailers in.
- Anonymous
track 5:  culinary art
Everything about this video just about equals perfection to me.  Going to make that drink Saturday night after caroling in our neighborhood.  I'm so excited!

cranberry mulled cider from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

Comfort and joy to you this third week of Advent!
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