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ADVENT MEDITATIONS – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25By Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Psalms 2, 85; Zechariah 2:10-13; John 3: 31-36
Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer:
“I think Joseph has lost his head,” she confided to me with a suppressed twinkle, when I visited Emmanuel Church in Massachusetts this summer. We hadn’t visited for a long time, and Marty Brown was reporting to me that they still used the crèche that Curt Prout had built, outfitted with a mini-flashlight wired to the peak of the box painted black, strewn with dry grass, and supplied with a Holy Family, that I had purchased at Costco when my children were all under ten. For the last twenty three years she had unpacked it, replaced the battery, and arranged the figures within. At the Christmas Eve service the children brought visitors: shepherds, angels, trucks, dragons, until there was a riot of human, animal, and mechanical life gathered to adore the Child. In Marty’s news that the crèche lived on, I heard her name the faith that she and I shared — that the divine light still shines through cardboard and broken plaster just as God dwells with us, in that little church, within our families, and with all those we have loved and see no longer.
We thank you, God, for all those friends through whom we have known your presence and love. We rejoice that thy everlasting light shines in every bright church and every dark street this night. O come to us; abide with us; our Lord Emmanuel. Amen.
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, ThD
Dean and President
Professor of New Testament
SEMINARY OF THE SOUTHWEST
The focus of Dean Kittredge’s leadership is the formation of Christian leaders in community for the vitality of the church and to advance God’s mission of reconciliation. She believes that critical engagement with scripture, tradition, and context, energized by imagination, and grounded in prayer is the center of formation for mission.
In the wider church, Dean Kittredge is a respected scholar and preacher who teaches and leads retreats on the vital intersection of scripture, spirituality, and preaching for Christian leaders. In her role as dean and president, she continues to form students at Southwest in creative and faithful approaches to biblical studies, early Christian history, Greek reading, and the embodied practice of liturgical leadership.
Dean Kittredge is the eighth dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest. She was appointed in 2013 after serving on the faculty as the Ernest J. Villavaso, Jr. Professor of New Testament and as academic dean. Committed to theological education for the church, Dean Kittredge has served as a member of the Steering Committee for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, as Chair of the Board of the Episcopal Evangelism Society, and President of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.
A biblical scholar valued by her colleagues for her insight and generous collegiality, Dean Kittredge is a contributor to The New Oxford Annotated Bible and the Women’s Bible Commentary, and the author of Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Johnand Community and Authority: The Rhetoric of Obedience in the Pauline Tradition. She co-edited The Bible in the Public Square: Reading the Signs of the Times and Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. She is the co-editor of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The New Testament (2014).
Fascinated by the interplay of intellect and imagination in the interpretation of scripture, she wrote A Lot of the Way Trees Were Walking: Poems from the Gospel of Mark (Wipf & Stock, 2015).
Prior to joining the seminary faculty in 1999, Dean Kittredge taught at Harvard University and the College of the Holy Cross. She serves as assisting priest at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin.
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