Your Guide to a Christ-Centered Christmas

November 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Advent

Are you seeking to connect with the true meaning of Christmas? You’re in the right place. Christmas in Cyberspace is a Christ-centered guide to this sacred holiday, focusing on the spiritual nature of our celebration of Christ’s birth and our redemption. Here’s where you can find some of our most popular features:

  • Christmas Cheer: Finding the manger amidst the madness of the mall. A reflection for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the retail season.
  • The Best Christian Christmas Sites: There are lots of Christ-centered Christmas sites, and you have only so many clicks. Which ones are the most useful? Here’s our list.
  • The History of Christmas: What’s the origin of popular Christian practices and traditions we observe during Advent and Christmas? You’ll find many of the answers here.
  • Advent Meditations and Devotionals: Our reflections on the Christian experience of Christmas past, present and future. A series of six devotionals perfect for Advent study.
  • Christian Christmas E-cards: Are you thinking about someone this Christmas? Why wait for the postman? Send them an e-card to let them know that they’re in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Advent Calendars: The Advent calendar is a beloved tradition for Christian children all over the world. Click through for links to online Advent calendars and resources about the history of the tradition
  • The Magi: Who were these “wise men” of the Bible? What do we know about them? You can find some of the answers here.

What Is Advent?

December 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Advent

December 2 is the first Sunday of Advent, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas, and the beginning of the Western Christian year. The name Advent is derived from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “the coming” and equates to the Greek term “parousia” which is often used in reference to Christ’s Second Coming. The season serves as a dual reminder of the Israelites’ lengthy anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah, as well as our expectation of Christ’s return.

The earliest Advent can begin is November 27 and the latest is December 3. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24). When Christmas Eve is a Sunday, as is the case this year, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.

For more, see our Advent Resources page.

Cyber Monday and Christians

November 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Advent

Today you’ll be seeing lots of media coverage of Cyber Monday, probably describing it as the kickoff of the online holiday shopping season. This site seeks to focus attention on the spiritual heart of Christmas, rather than the commercial hype. Cyber Monday, like the Black Friday “doorbuster” sales, is the product of heavy promotion by some of the largest retail chains. Contrary to much of the spin, it isn’t even the busiest day of the year for online sales.

Rather than adding to the hype and sales for Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other retailers, I felt this would be an opportunity to instead shine a spotlight on the many Christian retailers. These companies and individuals have placed their faith at the center of their lives and their business. I encourage you to visit these web sites and consider supporting these businesses. Keep Christ at the center of Christmas with gifts that uplift your family and your faith.

If you have dealt with other quality Christian web merchants, feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

The Nativity Story

November 29, 2006 by  
Filed under Advent

Will “The Nativity Story” become a blockbuster hit like “The Passion of the Christ?” It’s too early to say. But the movie, which arrives in theaters this Friday, Dec. 1, has gained positive feedback from many Christian leaders, who say the filmmakers have taken pains to be faithful to the Gospel accounts of the Christmas miracle.

To help readers learn about the movie, we’ve created a special page on our site with news and reviews of The Nativity Story. It includes links to the official web site for the film, as well as numerous articles in Christian media. There are also links that provide background about an off-screen controversy involving the 16-year-old actress who plays Mary, Keisha Castle-Hughes, is single and pregnant. We’ll keep updating as reviews and box office figures become available, and hope this page will eb a useful resource for Christians who are interested in “The Nativity Story.”

The Advent Log

November 28, 2006 by  
Filed under Advent

The Advent Log is a tradition similar to that of the Advent wreath, as explained by Rebecca from A Gypsy Caravan. She describes it as a Catholic tradition, but it’s also mentioned on Lutheran and Methodist sites. Here’s an excerpt:

Ours is a birch log, approximately 4 feet in length. It contains a candle hole for each day of Advent, plus one for the Christmas holy day itself. Traditionally, families use purple and pink candles for the Advent log, similar to the candle coloring of Advent wreaths.

Alice from Cottage Blessings was inspired by Rebecca’s account, and provides a photo essay of the creation of her family’s own Advent Log (even the drilling!).

New Guide to Advent Resources

November 13, 2006 by  
Filed under Advent

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30 (St. Andrew’s Day) and lasts until Christmas Eve. This year the First Sunday of Advent is December 3. That leaves plenty of time to prepare our hearts and minds for the season, and there are many fine web sites that can help with information on Advent history, traditions and observances.

In reviewing links this fall, I found that many of the best Advent sites are listed under different categories on the Christmas In Cyberspace web site. We’ve pulled some of the best together, along with some fine sites that are new this year, and gathered them in our Advent Resources Page. We hope these will inform and bless our readers this year – especially you!

Wal-Mart: “Merry Christmas” Is Back

November 9, 2006 by  
Filed under Advent

“Merry Christmas” is back at Wal-Mart, the company said today. A year after religious groups boycotted Wal-Mart for downplaying the Christian holiday, the company said it has embraced Christmas in its customer greetings, store displays and marketing. An excerpt:

“We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year,” says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley. “We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often.” Wal-Mart told about 7,000 associates of the plans at a conference last month and “was met with rapturous applause. … We know many of our customers will feel the same,” says John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of marketing.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Macys are encouraging employees to consider wishing customers holiday greetings that are appropriate to their race or religion, including “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Feliz Navidad.”

The Christmas in Cyberspace Blog Launches

November 4, 2006 by  
Filed under Advent

Welcome to the Christmas Blog, a companion journal to Christmas In Cyberspace: A Christian Perspective in which we’ll take time each day to share some of our Christ-centered seasonal sites and reflect on Advent and Christmas and what they mean to us. Our prayer is that this exercise will be a faith-building experience for the bloggers and our readers alike.

I’m Rich Miller, a journalist, web developer and Christians. With Christmas in Cyberspace, its sister site Easter In Cyberspace and the Hopewell Methodist Church web site, I seek to bring my skills and faith together and exalt Christ in cyberspace. This is Christmas In Cyberspace’s 10th year guiding Christian web surfers to the very best Christ-centered resources for Christmas and Advent.

We hope this blog wll be a blessing to you this Advent season. Whether you visit the blog home page or subscribe to our posts by email or our RSS feed, we encourage you to make the Easter Blog a part of your daily journey.