Advent Calendar on DVD: A Christian Countdown for December (2006)

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This DVD, containing 25 3 to 4 minute meditations, just arrived in the mail, so I’ve only had time to screen
half of it, but that is enough so that I can highly recommend it. Besides being inspired by the combination of
words and music (after hearing how Handel wrote the Messiah and gave the proceeds to charity we get to hear “The Hallelujah Chorus“), I was entertained and informed—and the well written narrative evoked an occasional chuckle.

The meditations explore the Biblical Nativity and Epiphany stories, the origin of such customs as the Christmas tree, the creche, mistletoe, holly and ivy and more. And the author also find inspiration in secular stories, such as the origins of the second most popular Christmas song, “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Did you know that this was originally a story that a Chicago widower wrote during the Depression for his four year-old daughter, who liked it so well that he was emboldened to read it at the Christmas Party of his employer, Montgomery Ward? The head of the company was so impressed that for the next Christmas he had the story printed and given away free to children who came to the store Two million copies were handed out the first year, six million in all. The publishing rights were generously given back to the author, and when he had remarried, his brother-in-law asked if he could transform it into a song. However, none of the big name singers, such as Bing Crosby, wanted to take a chance on a children’s Christmas song. Fortunately Gene Autry’s wife heard and liked it, and brought it to the attention of her husband. The rest, as they say, is history.

The above is but one instance of the kind of information embedded in this delightful DVD. There’s even a True or False quiz testing our knowledge of tradition and Bible (How many wise men were there?). Each day of Advent is separate so that the user can quickly navigate through the menu for a specific meditation. The devotions are illustrated with slides of people, objects, and great art of the Old Masters. There are also, as we have come to expect on a DVD, a lot of extras—the original music by stage and film composer Steven Bias that can be played for relaxation; and such PDF features as the scripts for the meditations, Daily Bible Readings in four translations; the Christmas Story in Matthew and Luke, and an Advent Coloring Book.

Although the DVD can be adapted for use in future years by ignoring the dates and substituting in your mind Day 1, Day 2, etc., if you order the DVD by telephone, you will still be able to use it for most of the days of this Advent. You will be glad that you did. I am looking forward to using my copy. Go the website (https://www.visionvideo.com/) and you can watch the clip of Day 1, which gives a brief history of the Advent season. The DVD is a bargain at $14.99, but according to their website, it is available at a 20% discount. Call 1-800-523-0226