Fr. Enrique Grez •
The days go by and many of us complain that Advent is slipping through our fingers. Here is a selection of digital calendars that can help us in the preparation of Christmas. —
The Church, the community that we are, has a wonderful celebratory heritage. We are the bearers of an immense collection of texts, music, symbols and works of art. This culture of which we are custodians and participants contains a very rich chapter dedicated to Advent. Over the centuries we have collected colors and scents, recipes and images, sculptures and objects of all kinds that speak to us of this preparation for the birth.
The Advent Calendar
An ancient tradition to bring us closer to Christmas is the Advent Calendar. Its function is to organize day by day our preparation to the joyful mystery for excellence. There are all kinds of calendars, with sweets, messages and resolutions. In our time, digital Advent Calendars have emerged, inspired by the old, but adding new ways of showing those past treasures, and complementing them with new contributions from the plastic and musical arts. This is what I am going to tell you about.
For years I have been pursuing authors and platforms that link art and religion. We often complain that there is no good religious art being made today. But our complaint, or at least mine, is only due to ignorance. As I have taken the pulse of some contemporary initiatives I realize that there is a thriving reflective and creative life around art and faith in our time. Some of these initiatives have special advent programs that I would now like to share with you. I select only three from a much larger list. I warn that my selection has a strong Anglo-Saxon bias.
The Visual Commentary on Scripture, an initiative of King’s College London
This platform has been working for years on producing an Illustrated Commentary on the Bible. They usually take a couple of verses and present for them a series of three artworks. Paleo-Christian, medieval, Renaissance, modern and contemporary works are mixed in, all in high resolution. In addition, there is a brief but detailed commentary on the passage. For Advent they offer a 23-day calendar, which began publishing on December 1st. It does not follow the readings of the liturgy but a certain biblical narrative that this year begins with the creation and moves forward with the History of Salvation. In short, it is a very tasteful Advent Calendar that places the Holy Scriptures at the center.
Biola University Center for Christian Culture and the Arts /The Advent Project
Every year the center for the arts of Biola University, linked to the Evangelical Church, offers us an Advent calendar in a digital version. The central page offers a classic calendar view, which is very easy to understand. Click on the day in question to access the material, which is organized by daily themes around the preparation for Christmas. If you press “play” (▶️) the corresponding music starts to play, and one or more images linked to the theme of the day begin to appear. The pictures correspond to a variety of styles, from classical to contemporary, but leaving ample room for the avant-garde. The same is true of the music. In addition, there are biblical commentaries, poetry and art credits, which allow us to delve deeper into the authors of our interest. This is a multimedia and immersive Advent calendar, with a varied and abundant aesthetic richness, and whose purpose is to allow us a deep reflection on Christian values related to Christmas.
Art & Theology Advent posts
Victoria Emily Jones is a curator of contemporary Christian art. She runs a colorful blog where she posts a couple of times a week. During Advent and Lent she gives us a daily gift of visual arts, music, poetry and supporting videos. In the images she favors the avant-garde, and in the music she includes more classical tastes. The selection is exquisite, of great quality and sophistication. It often proposes new clues and real “hidden treasures” that make us enter into the depths of the Christian mystery, and particularly in the Advent themes.
|The Visual Commentary on Scripture||Advent Calendar 2021 https://thevcs.org/index.php/Advent2021|
|Center for Christian Culture & the Arts||The Advent Project (https://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2021/# )|
|Art & Theology (Victoria Emily Jones)||Advent Calendar (https://artandtheology.org)|
Original: Spanish 2021-12-05. Translated by: María Aragón, Monterrey, México