Prata Potpourri: Christmas, depicting Jesus in art, music, old Movietone reels

By Elizabeth Prata

Time for another edition of Prata Potpourri, the ever popular phrase made famous by the game show Jeopardy! host, wherein I put forth various and sundry links on a variety of topics. I like using the words potpourri and sundry in the same essay.

I’m a public school teacher’s aide and so I live by the school calendar. Hard to believe we are at the mid point, with second quarter report cards to be issued this week. Our school district gives us a two-week break around Christmas, with our return a day or two after New Year’s.

By this time of year we really look forward to an extended time off. No one knows the tired you get with managing hundreds of kids a week before Christmas, never mind keeping track of the Elf on the Shelf, admiring their blinking reindeer antlers and Santa hats, scraping half eaten sticky candy canes off the desks, (or out of their pockets) and trying to teach about adjectives and three digit subtraction amidst it all. There’s no tired like teacher tired, and there’s no teacher tired like a few days out from Christmas Break!

For my break, I’ve got some books lined up to read, upcoming naps to take, Netflix binges on Fellowship of the Ring and Blue Bloods, and friends to spend the holiday with. It’s all good. For your consideration here are a few sites with content you might find interesting. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~Christmas~~~~~~~

Here is Allen Nelson IV with A Christmas Gift for Youa reflection on the promise of Christmas.

Josh Buice on some thoughts regarding the prophecy of Jesus in his essay, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. We sang the hymn Come Thou Long Expected Jesus in church yesterday. It’s a beautiful song.

Elizabeth Barnes goes on a ‘Holiday House Tour- a Giant Fancy Christmas‘ and if you know Elizabeth Barnes, this will be funny

~~~~~~~Social Media~~~~~~~

Social media can be aggravating but it is also here to stay and a mechanism to get the Gospel and its truths out widely. Ligon Duncan outlines his social media strategy and it’s a helpful list.

Another list offering ways on How to be a smarter Christian with social media

From 2010, a useful look back at when social media came to the fore to aid us in Understanding social media

~~~~~~~Art~~~~~~~

I love art, and one particular piece I enjoy at this time of year is the piece by Gari Melchers, The Nativity. I wrote about it several times in past years, and for me, it is a powerful piece.

Michelle Lesley asks, Is it irreverent or disobedient to depict Jesus in nativity scenes?

For a longer exploration of art, Christianity, and reverence, here are a few links-

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, by H. R. Rookmaaker and a review of this book by the gang at Discerning Reader

Artist and video animator Christ Powers has goals with his visual media,

Animations and pictures are the primary way we do this. The visual media are an uniquely effective tool the Lord has given us for communication, especially in the 21st century’s image-laden culture. My goal is to use these visual media as a way to pierce the heart and to haunt the mind with scripturally-informed imagery of Christ.

Powers adds this disclaimer to his videos and website fullofeyes.com. He’s thought long and hard about it and decided in the end to continue making the images and add the disclaimer.

Art and the Bible is a classic on the topic by Francis Schaeffer & MichaelCard.

And another good one on the topic, both these books are short, btw-
Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, by Philip Graham Ryken

~~~~~~~Music~~~~~~~

Dallas Holm, songwriter, on the genesis of his song Lord, I’m Waiting. It’s thoughtful.

Daniel Smith writes about Timeless Truth in an Ancient Hymn, “Hail, Gladdening Light.” It’s unclear how old this hymn exactly is, since our earliest references to it in the 4th century refer to its antiquity, but we do know that it was relatively widespread throughout the early church in its first few centuries.

Speaking of Nobody Knows, here is a book with that title, about a forgotten musician, Harry T. Burleigh. Singer and Arranger of Negro Spirituals, Burleigh made an enormous impact to American song, yet few people know of him now. Hopefully this book will bring his name back to light.
Nobody Knows: The Forgotten Story of One of the Most Influential Figures in American Music, by Craig von Buseck

~~~~~~~Women~~~~~~~

Jess Pickowitz writes of Princess Charming, from her series Portraits of Superstition, and says, “As I share these verses, I want you to think on how much stock you are genuinely putting into various types of “lucky charms” or idols in your life. Maybe none. Maybe just a little. Think on what it is in which you are putting your faith and trust.”

Ayanna Thomas bangs the drum reminding us that while devotionals and Bible studies can be worthwhile, You don’t need another Bible study. Study the Bible on your own this year, see how it goes!

Sharon Lareau both reviews Tim Keller’s book Prayer and teaches how to be discerning when choosing a book, which is always helpful. Here is her introduction and here is the stand-alone page with the Keller book review

~~~~~~~Fun~~~~~~~

Our favorite nannies, in fiction and in film, from the always lush UK website The Country Life

Inspired by art, physics, math, light, and technology, the incredible art installations of HYBYCOZO have been an absolute sensation since they first went viral after the 2016 Burning Man Festival. By laser cutting intricate patterns into large polyhedrons, artists Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu have created a striking visual identity through their collaboration. Over the past several years, their work has appeared across the globe—in civic installations in Singapore and Dubai to exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.

 Check out the interview with the artists!

Archive of Motion Pictures has this clip (among many thousands of others) of Chelyuskin crewmen rescus in dramatic scenes. Filmed in 1934. Description

Various scenes from the Soviet expedition rescued in the arctic, including a seaplane landing, shots of the crew, the SS Chelyuskin, sleds and dogs in the snow, sea ice, a man with a movie camera, and of the Russian script. Edited Fox Movietone News story, “First Pictures of Soviet Expedition Rescued in Arctic.” Includes voiceover describing the scenes.

Enjoy your week!