A Christmas Poem

Poems can mean more than the poet realizes. It is interesting to look back on this poem, written in 2011 while I was still an Anglican, and realize that I was feeling the ‘twitch upon the thread’ that would, in a few months time, become a steady and undeniable pull toward the Catholic Church, to […]

Last-minute Book Recommendations

For those of you still scrambling—or just starting to scramble—to find gifts for your book loving friends, here’s one final round of recommendations. * * * Recommended by Garret Johnson: JRR Tolkien: The Letters of JRR Tolkien – Edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien: Part autobiography, part theory-of-everything, part treatise on the author’s […]

The Exchange by Steve Bell

Advent, a season of renunciation? Yes – and for a very good reason. In this third Advent meditation, Steve Bell makes a thoughtful exploration of the path leading up to a meaningful Christmas, a reflection that has its musical expression in the song “Fashion for Me,” which appears in his excellent Advent-Christmas-Epiphany album Keening for […]

It’s Complicated, by Steve Bell

I am delighted to feature another in this series of Advent essays by Steve Bell, a gifted singer, songwriter, musician, and writer.  Here he reflects on his discomfort with Christmas –  as for me, I certainly recognize the way that false cheer can paper over the reality of loss and sadness that we need to […]

Advent Sonnet 4: Angels

My Christmas cards this year had reproductions of medieval paintings of the Annunciation. I noticed that the angels (Gabriel and any attendant angels in the background) were made to look human, yet were still a bit more dressed up, as it were, than the typical 21st century angel. Modern angels apparently do not dress in […]