Anticipating Christmas Creatively

December 23, 2015

I wrote the cover package for the December issue of Word&Way, a Baptist magazine in the Midwest. The theme for the package is "Anticipating Christmas Creatively." I hope the articles help people think a bit more about Advent this year.

The first article, Some Churches Creatively ‘Deck the Halls’ for Advent, explores traditions involving decorating church sanctuaries to add meaning to worship during Advent. It includes comments from Randy Buffington (minister of worship/arts at First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit, Mo.) on a "hanging of the greens" service and from Dick Smith (associate pastor for spiritual formation at First Baptist Church at Savoy, Ill.) on decorating with poinsettias.

The second article, Reflecting on Violence as part of Advent, takes a look at the darker side of the Christmas story and how churches can meaningful reflect on it. The piece primarily focuses on a unique and powerful Advent service by Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., that includes crosses on the front lawn to remember those in the community killed by violence that year. The article includes comments from the church's pastor, Joe Phelps. The piece also includes comments from Rodney Reeves (dean of the Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry and professor of biblical studies at Southwest Baptist University) on violence in the biblical narratives.