The Flying Annunciation

Only 114 shopping days.Title: “The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas”

Author: Ann Voskamp

Rank: 9

Blurb: “Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift — through the majestic advent tradition of ‘The Jesse Tree,’ each day featuring its own exquisite ornament highlighting the Biblical story.”

About the Author: “Ann Voskamp is a farmer’s wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids.”

Review: “You can download these beautiful designs and create your own ‘Jesse Tree’ representing the House of Jesse, who was King David’s father and ancestor of Jesus.”

Customers Also Bought: “Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids”

Footnote: Luke and Matthew connect Jesus to King David through Joseph, but everybody knows that Mary was knocked up by a dove.

The Greatest Gift [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]


Excuse me, Jesus was connected to David via his mother. Hence the Immaculate Conception. Hence the birth at Bethlehem. There was of course no census. I think the most interesting prefiguring comes in John when Jesus strips naked and wraps a towel about his waist before kneeling to each of his disciples in turn to wash their feet. Echoing David dancing naked before the Lord with only an apron hiding the good bits. No selfies unfortunately.

Ms Voskamp is obviously more than qualified to be teaching the rest of us about the Bible.She’s quite the begatter.

@Benedick: Okay, fine, I cheated: Luke is Joseph-only, but Matthew pulls a hat trick and lists both. Advantage Joseph.

Also, because I’ve earwormed myself: “The kid is not my son.”

I thought Lego was the greatest gift of all.

@Benedick: Fun fact: the term “Immaculate Conception” refers to the conception of the Virgin Mary, not Jesus. Mary’s parents Anne and Joachim were very distressed that they had been unable to have children. An angel appeared to each one separately, telling them to go to the Golden Gate in Jerusalem at a certain time. When they arrived, they fell into each others’ arms and Mary was conceived on the spot, without sin. It was not enough for the early church that Mary was a virgin, she had to be free of original sin. Thus, the Immaculate Conception. One of the prayers to the BVM contains the line, “Holy Mary, conceived without sin.”
We have a lovely illuminated miniature from a 15th century book of hours illustrating the meeting before the Golden Gate, which is why I know this.

@Mistress Cynica: Does this mean Mary is free to cast stones?

@nojo: Girlfriend can start an avalanche if she wants. She’s Queen of Heaven, after all.

Mary was a nice Jewish girl. Went to the mikva, made a mean brisket.

@Mistress Cynica: Actually, I was in the middle of chasing pugs around the garden and realized my mistake. The Virgin Birth is Jesus, right? Oh and also, because it was reckoned that the Holy Ghost entered Mary through her ear that was regarded as a sex organ.

@nojo: The casting stones routine was about Jesus daring the rabbis to commit blasphemy by claiming to be without sin.

@Mistress Cynica: I did not know Mary met Joseph in San Francisco. Were they on grindr? It sure sounds like it.

@Mistress Cynica: Yep. I thiiink she was also swept up into heaven and was a virgin forever despite James, et al.

@Dodgerblue: I think the mikva led to the gnostic baptism, beheaded John style. Pass the locusts and honey.

@Benedick: I’m sorry — her ear? All I know is that Beheaded John and Jesus lept in utero when they first met. What was Beheaded John’s mom’s name? Elizabeth, which I think would be “Elishiva” or something — “God’s promise to create and destroy.” (I know.)

Oh. Biblical Jesus didn’t exist unless you consider him one of the itinerant yogis in India.

Oh, so this book. Just bore the kids to death with all the “begats” and fuck the rest.

@Mistress Cynica: Help me make sense of this:

Miriam/Mary – Queen of Heaven
The Church – Bride of Christ and built on Peter the Rock
Jesus – sits at the right hand of the Father, but the Holy Trinity makes that a little confusing, but considering that The Father was also able to hang out in heaven while being crucified, grabbing the keys to hell, and whatever, I guess it makes sense in Cog-Dis Land.

Who sits at la mano sinistra?

@JNOV: It’s a mystery. Not unlike noje’s passion for Andrew Lloyd Webber.

@JNOV: Yes, the ear. To be fair that was a long time ago. I don’t think anyone’s thought that since the 70s.

BTW. The author runs her own schlock industry.

@Benedick: @JNOV: The ear. That’s why nuns (and married women in the Middle Ages) wore a coif (the white part of the penguin headgear) to cover their ears.

FWIW, the Trinity is depicting in books of hours with Jesus sitting to the right of God the Father, with the dove of the Holy Spirit hovering in the air between or just above their heads. No one on the left. We are about to issue a catalogue with a lot of illuminated manuscripts, so I know more about religious iconography than I ever thought possible.

Oh, and Joseph? Generally presented as a buffoon in Medieval art and mystery plays. Cuckolds are always an object of derision, even when their rival is God. He wasn’t even considered a saint until the late 16th century.

@Benedick: You so want to do him.

@Mistress Cynica and sort of Bene: Back in Cog-Dis Land, that makes sense. If you realize you’re preggers and a voice says, “Mary, Mary — Why You Buggin’? No worries, I am Gawd and have impregnated yooooo,” then, yeah. She heard it, therefore the eargasm.

@Mistress Cynica: I also thought Joe had the patience of a saint. You gotta go far away to pay your pregnant (not by you) wife’s taxes, your kid splits the family business to join an ashram for about a dozen years, he could slay you with a look, and you can’t put him in time out when he kills some kid he was pissed at. Whatchagonnado?

@Mistress Cynica: The Wimple FX.

What I find interesting (Oh dear God no!) is the correlation of the organ of input – the ear – to the organ of impregnation. Whispers become God. The entrance to the womb must be guarded.

The trinity thing… not being a Jesuit… If Jesus is God. And God is God. And Holy Ghost is God. And Jesus is being crucified and calls out to God – Why have you forsaken me, broheim?- and God is Him. And plus Holy Ghost. Then Jesus, being God, knew he’d be crucified and knew he’d come back. So it’s a conjuring trick. A kind of three god monte. And I have to say… WTF?

@Benedick: Jesus is the aspect of God reduced to the perspective and physical flesh of humanity in order for divinity to experience the curse and consequence of sin, and in experiencing it, mitigate it’s cost for those who are wiling to recognize their own powerlessness before it and to offer it to him, whose nature can uplift and sanctify all things. The Holy Spirt is the aspect of God that communicates the will of God to man in a way they can understand, in a language their souls can speak. Remember that Jesus was fully human, The Holy Spirit was of great need during Jesus’ time on earth. God the creator is remote. Must be remote. It’s complexity defies our concepts because it existed long before time, or matter , or energy. It’s nature is ineffable. Therefore God must be three things as well as one: That which sustains us, that which speaks to us, and that which gives us life. A bird is not a tail, or a wing, but cannot fly without wither. A wing and a tail are nothing if not that which comprise a living bird.

@Tommmcatt Can’t Believe He Ate The Whole Thing: There’s a hint of Aristotle in that last line. I can see why Catholics grokked him.

@nojo: A Hint of Aristotle is also my new fragrance. Especially after A Whiff of Wittgenstein nearly bankrupted me.

@nojo: I was wondering when that “W” guy would show up.

@Tommmcatt Can’t Believe He Ate The Whole Thing: A wing and a tail are nothing if not that which comprise a fossilized Pterosaur. FIXED!

Glad I checked the alt text. I need to go to the gym.

Ah. Who can help me pronounce Enumclaw? I’ve been thinking “You-Nem-Claw.” Apparently I’m wrong.

I’m a Philadelphian in the West.

I used to think La Jolla was “La -Jawl-La,” so, yeah.

@Tommmcatt Can’t Believe He Ate The Whole Thing: Well, yes. One is an Anglican, after all. One was even an altar boy and sang in the choir (got thrown out for laughing). I still can’t grasp the three in one thing. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the fully human aspect of Jesus’ sufferings why so much attention is paid to the physical details? He can’t die but He can suffer?

To tell the truth, I would have made a pretty good pagan. I kind of like the idea of the divine being made manifest in every aspect of the physical world. Of course with the cult of saints that’s still with us but the Greeks had better clothes. And better literature. Plus wrestling. BTW. Did anyone read that story about Benedict’s shoes? It seems they are a holdover from ancient Rome. Red leather denoted a particular status. Prada not so much.

@JNOV: That was the original headline, before I changed my mind.

Also, EEEEEEnumclaw. At least if my vague memory of Mutual of Enumclaw ads serves.

@Benedick: Animism has upsides. “Divine” doesn’t have to be God Daddy, Mommy or Cousin Fred.
One could see divinity in all things, animate and inanimate because we have a common source and connection. A namaste kind of thing that applies to rocks and tables but not to pugs.

I need a nap.

@nojo: Your headline is better but still smacks of Sally Field, a good thing.

I’m awestruck at the creativity displayed by you all. Originally I just wanted to compliment Nojo on “everybody knows Mary was knocked up by a dove.” Clearly, a lot of us went to Sunday School, and grew up to be skeptics.

While I’m at, I recommend Whistle Down the Wind, in which a small boy, seeking comfort when a kitten dies, goes to a clergyman and after hearing him out, says to his older sister, “Doesn’t know, does he.”

Clearly, people have gone to bed. My timing is off. Thanks for your good wishes {unexpressed}, my correspondence goes like this

@lynnlightfoot: As I remember a lovely film with radiant perfs by the children and the young Alan Bates. It was made into a musical by (ahem) Andrew Lloyd Webber transposed to the south but closed out of town. If you liked that you might try Kes. I don’t know if that film is known here. Very moving perf by a young boy who finds a young kestrel and trains it. It will break your heart. On Netflix. Feel better. I’m suggesting movies you can watch as you recover. I know it’s hard to face the world without a good liquid foundation and powder but now is not the time for glamor.

@JNOV: Enumclaw is pronounced as “Pompeii II” due to its location inside Mount Rainier’s future lava flow that no one will see coming.

@¡Andrew!: Yep! I want to be in the center of the action!

@nojo: Dude. That is just so wrong. Clever, but ugh. You wound me, sir. You wound me deeply.

Are you volunteering to be the virginal sacrifice who will appease The Mountain when it goes nuclear?

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