What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I have a friend who does all his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. He says he finds the challenge exhilarating. While I can appreciate the adrenaline rush, I prefer to plan ahead. I'm not fanatical about it but I start thinking about gifts before Thanksgiving. I spread out my Christmas preparations over 4 - 6 weeks. I like it that way.

I think it's best to prepare spiritually for Christmas in the same way. It's too big of an event to just get started on Christmas Eve. That's why we have Advent. Advent means "coming" or "arrival." It's the season that helps us prepare for the advent of our Lord, both his first and second comings. Advent is the first season in the church year. It begins on the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas.

Advent is a season of prayer and reflection, of time of pondering like Mary. We focus more on our relationship with God. Often a devotional guide is a part. We light candles on the Advent wreath at church and maybe even at home. We reflect on the gifts that Christ brings to us - hope, peace, joy and love. We wait and prepare for the Light of Christ is be born in us anew.

Prayer: Help me to spiritually prepare for Christmas. Amen.

Extra Credit

The Advent Wreath is a German/Lutheran tradition that goes back to the 16 Century. It may have even been used in pre-Christian times as a pre-winter symbol of hope - as the days grew shorter another candle would be lit. The wreath, of course, is in the shape of a circle, a symbol of eternity. It's made or covered with evergreens, a symbol of God's faithfulness to us (ever-green). Candles are lighted on the four Sundays prior to Christmas, with the Christ candle lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to celebrate the gift of Christ, the Light of the World.

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