Tag Archives: Episcopal Advent

A call for submissions: O Antiphons

We’d like to take a minute to talk to you about participating in Forward Movement’s 2018 Advent/Christmas meditation project! Below, you’ll find some very important instructions.

About the project: The O Antiphons are an ancient set of prayers that remind us of the names and characteristics of the Messiah. Antiphons are phrases used like a chorus or a refrain during prayers, and the O Antiphons are particularly moving examples of different ways Jesus Christ moves and has his being with and among us. They also reference the prophesies of Isaiah and the coming of the Messiah.

By Castorepollux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The O Antiphons (so called because they each begin with “O”) are traditionally used as part of the Vespers (an evening prayer service) said from December 17–23. We invite people to explore the O Antiphons throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas, lingering with each attribute of Jesus for several days. Here are the readings and an inspirational playlist.

You are invited to reflect upon your experience with these attributes of Jesus. Each reflection (written or visual) should focus on one O Antiphon and/or the scripture citation for the week. For example, you might want to talk about Jesus as the Key of David, or you might be particularly drawn to one of the lyrical sections of Isaiah. Ideal entries will contain a blend of personal reflection and Bible study.

You may submit up to three offerings for consideration.

Written meditations should be no more than 350 words (including a prayer) and may be either original prose or poetry. The prayer may either original or taken from The Book of Common Prayer and cited appropriately with page number.

Visual reflections may include photography, images of woodcuts, pen and ink, etc. The submissions must be at least 300 dpi and reproducible at 5×7 and in black and white only.

All entries (written and visual) must be submitted electronically through this form by January 15, 2018. Featured writers and artists will be notified of their inclusion by February 1, 2018. Submissions that don’t follow the guidelines may not be considered.

Soul Proclamations: Watching and Waiting

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Luke 21:25–36

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Meditation for Sunday November 29, by Ray Suarez

The juxtaposition of this time of awareness and preparation with our celebration of the birth of Jesus is a gift to any wide-awake Christian. Jeremiah, born seven centuries before Jesus, urges God’s people to live in expectation: ‘The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land’ (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

Jeremiah is telling people to be ready. Jesus is telling people to be ready. Ready for what is not clear. Jesus seems to be getting us ready for something cataclysmic, world- shaking, life-changing. For centuries, his warnings have fired the imaginations of mystics and would-be prophets.

As disturbing as it might be to hear the preaching of a young man who has walked out of the wilderness with his friends, talking of a new world, Mary has heard even wilder news—news that transcends, renews, rejuvenates, and restores the promises Jeremiah communicates to the children of Israel.

This young woman has her ordinary day interrupted by an angel who gives her the most extraordinary news: she will give birth even though she’s never been with a man. There are no histrionics, no argument with the heavenly messenger. Instead, we hear rejoicing and acceptance. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary, this young innocent, is the one who finally finds out what everyone has longed to know: God chooses to save us, to hold and love us, with the tiny hands of a most unexpected baby.

The world is still waiting for the second advent foretold by Jesus. Mary experiences the events promised by the angel, an Incarnation that immediately cleaves the history of the world in two: All that ever happened before, and everything that’s happened since.

Ray Suarez is an American broadcast journalist and host of Inside Story on Al Jazeera America. He was the host of the National Public Radio program Talk of the Nation from 1993-1999. In his more than thirty-year career in the news business, he has also worked as a radio reporter in London and Rome, as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, and as a reporter for the NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He and his wife live in Washington, DC, with their three children. He is active locally and nationally in The Episcopal Church.

Soul Proclamations: Singing the Magnificat with Mary is a new collection of daily meditations for the Advent season. Authors include Ray Suarez; Christopher Wells, editor of The Living Church; Kate Moorehead, dean of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral; Thomas E. Breidenthal, bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio; and Christine McSpadden of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The book invites you to share Mary’s journey through the Advent and Christmas seasons. To walk with Mary each day this Advent, order a copy of the full volume of Soul Proclamations ($5).

Resources for Advent and Christmas

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The Advent season can be a frenetic time—we find ourselves sprinting through Black Friday crowds, scrawling holiday shopping lists, and baking cookies for countless holiday parties. So how can we slow down this year?  How can we prepare now, even today, to pause, to breathe, to reflect—to become more faithful disciples?

In hopes that you will find Jesus this Advent and Christmas, we offer here some suggestions for resources that can help you adopt a spirit of celebration and remembrance—personally and communally.  We’ve priced them starting at $5 each and many are available on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes.

2382 Soul ProclamationsSoul Proclamations: Singing the Magnificat with Mary

These daily reflections by five esteemed writers approach the Advent and Christmas seasons in different ways, from deep engagement with scripture to current examples that connect Mary’s story to ours. Let their words be a companion in your preparations as you ready your heart and soul for the coming of Christ Jesus. Authors include Ray Suarez, Christopher Wells, Kate Moorehead, Thomas E. Breidenthal and Christine McSpadden. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample


2076 Stillness Cover-web

The Stillness We Seek

Cathy H. George invites us to come in from all that goes on outside this Advent, to simply be in the present time–keenly aware of ourselves as we wait with God. Guided by the Psalms, she travels back to her past, reflecting on the moments and memories that have shaped her faith and offering spiritual support for all who seek stillness. Learn more.



2337 Choirs of AngelsColor-It-In Posters

With drawings and text by Jay Sidebotham, the Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent! calendar poster suggests ways to mark the days through the Advent season—offering a reprieve from the holiday hustle and bustle with ideas for prayer, helping others, and being thoughtful about the true meaning of Christmas. Learn more.

After Advent, celebrate the songs of angels at Christmas with our Choirs of Angels poster. Sold in packs of 25, these posters are great to tackle with children at home or as gifts for Sunday schools. Learn more.


2208 DogInTheMangerDog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos

With laugh-out-loud humor anchored by spiritual truths, author Tim Schenck helps us maintain our spiritual sanity through the frenetic time of Advent and Christmas. Illustrated by cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dog in the Manger also explores the major characters of the season in new ways, including John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph and of course, Jesus. Thoughtful questions following each section make Dog in the Manger ideal for personal or group use. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample


2298 Expecting JesusExpecting Jesus

Are you expecting Jesus this Christmas? Are you prepared to receive him? Advent offers a time for preparation, to wait in hopeful expectation for the coming of our Savior. Author, Episcopal priest, and new mom Danielle Tumminio explores birth—both the physical birth of Jesus and the metaphorical opportunities for rebirth in our spiritual lives. Each meditation begins with scripture and ends with questions for individual or small-group study. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample


2399 Journey with Luke

Journey with Luke

A masterful storyteller with the compassion of a physician, Luke paints a picture of Jesus as healer, full of mercy, forgiveness, and love. The Gospel of Luke features the Magnificat, Mary’s love song to God, and the nativity story heard in Christmas pageants around the world. Join the journey with 50 days of scripture readings, meditations, and prayers written by dynamic spiritual leaders from around the world. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample


2344 Dawn from on HighDawn from on High

In these inspiring and accessible meditations, John Alexander offers a theologically rich and biblically grounded journey through Advent, Christmastide, and the first days of Epiphanytide. Based on the eucharistic lectionary of The Episcopal Church, Father Alexander takes the reader into the heart of Advent’s focus on “last things” and then the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Preachers will find in this volume a useful resource for preparing their own sermons, but any Christian will benefit from these homilies. Learn more.


We wish you a peaceful and reflective Advent season. And as you journey through these volumes, we encourage you to connect with fellow disciples in our Day by Day and Forward Movement Facebook communities.