This Advent season, I thought it would be nice to have some daily bounties to reward great answers from the diversity of traditions represented on this site. If you'd like to participate, please sign up below.

(I apologize to those whose Advent is reckoned according to a different calendar from my own.)

How it works

  1. Sign up for one or more days of Advent using the (community wiki) answer below.
  2. At some point on your day, pick a nice answer from the main site.
  3. Award a bounty to it! 100 points might be a good amount.
  4. Come back here and write a little about your choice. You can also post about it on chat.

Bounties do take a bit of time to go through, but I think as long as we're roughly on target, the spirit of the thing is maintained.

Choosing answers

It is completely up to you. Chosen answers should, at least, be high-quality according to the site standards, and it would be nice to recognize ones which seem to have been overlooked. We also thought it would be good to skew the choices towards users with lower reputation (fredsbend suggests a guideline: someone with no more than half of your current reputation) and who are currently "active". It is probably a good idea to make sure that nobody gets chosen twice, as well.

Also, we should try to make sure that the overall selection isn't too biased towards any one tradition, or group of users. Let's agree to monitor the balance and make thoughtful choices.

I thought it would also be fun to make the selections "themed" according to the day. Possible connections include days on which significant events in Christian history happened (eg: 4 December is the anniversary of the end of the Council of Trent), days with saintly patronage, lectionary readings from the lectionary of your choice. Or just general Christmas/Advent spirit. It's completely optional, anyway.

(Previous discussion)

Catholic Liturgical Calendar if you need some inspiration for your day.

O, and don't forget about O'Antiphons for the last 7 days!


3 Answers 3


The Answers of Advent

  1. On the first day, we say a happy birthday to N. T. Wright, the first bearded bishop and theologian named Nicholas to be celebrated in this season, and surely not the last. Since Anglicans are all about the via media, let's start this off with a lovely answer from Dan which quotes Wright, compares Eastern and Western traditions, and leads us into the Orthodox understanding of the work of Christ and the message of the Gospel. Dan's answer to What happens with a soul after one's death according to Eastern Orthodox doctrine? receives the first bounty of the season. (100 points)

  2. The second of December, 1697, was the date of the consecration of the rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral in London. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, resurrected and hallowed, it is apt that the cathedral's inaugural sermon was on the psalm text I was glad when they said unto me: let us go into the house of the Lord. The apostle Paul's use of body imagery points to our unity in faith and the reality of the Incarnation; and in an answer which is evangelical in every sense of the word, rhetorician gives a perfectly Pauline account of what it means to be 'in' Christ. (100 points)

  3. On the third day comes the feast of St Francis Xavier, a real Catholic superhero. He co-founded of the Society of Jesus, and travelled all over the world in service of Jesus, the High Priest; as a preacher, pastor, and educator, he is emulated by ordained and lay people to this day. On this site, we have Charles Alsobrook, whose contributions display a rigour and clarity that any order - the Jesuits or his own - can admire. Out of the many choices available, his answer to How has the Catholic Church interpreted the tearing of the temple veil? seems a good match for the day, explaining priests as sacerdotes ministeriales dedicated to Jesus. (300 points)

  4. Though the majority of Christians celebrate Christmas, some actually do not, thus, the fourth day is given unto God as any other. But we still appreciate the work one of our newest users, Jeremy, is doing for the site. Jeremy represents Jehovah's Witnesses, a group we all hear a lot about, but usually not from them. The Witnesses have a unique outlook on life that affects every aspect of it. Even down to how fast they build their temples. Jeremy showed exemplary academic prose and answered one of the curiosities of the Jehovah's Witnesses thoroughly and accurately. Though you do not celebrate Christmas, I do know that giving is always Christian. We are happy to have you here and hope that you continue to participate so that we can learn from you, and you from us. (100 points)

  5. The Gospel reading in the Catholic Lectionary for the fifth day concerns the parable of the man who built his house on sand. Jayarathina Madharasan used the existence of this parable in Jesus' teaching to show that no, in fact Our Lord did not spend his hidden life in India (Unlike the hidden life of President Obama, who never has recourse to such parables in his teaching). The same parable is also the subject of this year's VeggieTales release the little house that stood an excellent Christmas purchase for the little ones if I do say so myself. It's a lesson in making good choices and disaster preparedness! (100 Points)

  6. Today is the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra and in honor of the sixth day we consider the begetting of the New Adam and his genealogy. Caleb answered Why is Jesus' genealogy traced through Joseph back when the site was in its infancy. Like St. Nicholas, Caleb hails from Turkey, I was going to call him a Turkish delight, but I don't know that he is Turkish, just chillin' there. And also like St. Nicholas he often visits in the night, leaving us with goodness and moderation. (100 Points)

  7. The seventh day of December is the Eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The eve of the the new Eve as it were. It's a good night to think about the old Eve and Waeshael (whom you should all go an serial upvote each of his posts in the hopes that he comes back to the site) gives an excellent account of what became of the Tree of Life given a suitably metaphorical understanding of Genesis. He also had a comment somewhere on a question concerning another tree, the fig tree which Jesus saw Nathanael standing under. He said that what Jesus meant was that He saw Nathanael's parent conceiving him under the fig tree. That, is the most astounding thing I've read on the site to date (and I can't find it any more, can you?) (100 points)

  8. The eighth day is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. And, in honor of Our Lady's singular grace, I've asked for a 500 pt bounty on the question "Why Did God Choose Mary". Possibly Affable Geek will deign to undelete his very correct answer and expound on it. "Fitting" was the best Pope IX could come up with when he first pronounced the Dogma.

    And indeed it was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent.

    Ineffabilis Deus - Pope Pius IX (500 points)

  9. The ninth day is the day the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is actually supposed to be observed, so why not extend the Marian theme one more day and consider whether it's better to be happy or blessed. Mike Tever had a good answer concerning the etymologies of the words. Happy or blessed, Mary must have been getting pretty nervous about now a couple thousand years ago. (100 points)

  10. I've no idea what happened on the tenth day but I do want to reward an answer to my What happened to the tribe of Dan in Revelation? question. This is something that had bothered me - was there a typo / mistake in The Revelation? Bob Black posted this excellent reply about Dan and Ephraim's idol worship. (100 points)

  11. For the eleventh day I want to reward an answer to another one of my questions, this time an answer by James T who has initiated this excellent advent bounty idea. The question is Has any prominent theologian ever explained why Jesus let a thief be in charge of the money?. James T's answer is well researched and well written and explains Jesus' wonderful example of even reaching out to Judas, who would ultimately betray Him. (100 points)

  12. On the twelfth day, I'd like to reward Neil Meyer's answer to Take away the gospels, and how do we know that Jesus did what he was recorded to have done in terms of miracles?. Early on, while we were still figuring out how to combat low quality content, he provided a measured, high quality answer to a question that was quite unpopular. Providing good, constructive answers to potentially non-constructive questions, in a respectful, professional manner should be rewarded, so my first Christmas gift of 100 points goes to Neil. (100 points)

  13. On day thirteen, I'd like to extend my thanks to Caleb for addressing some nagging doubts I had. For How do we know Paul wasn't a false Apostle?, he provided an answer that, while not particularly well-sourced, it was dead on. His answer contained enough claims to send me back to Scripture looking for supporting verses, which resulted in a surer faith for me than if he'd provided the verses for me. As answers go, the value wasn't in being well-sourced and documented, but in answering in such a way as to give me the push in the right direction. Such answers are often the most helpful ones, because they encourage us to learn on our own. It also armed me for various similar questions that have been asked since. Thank you, Caleb, and Merry Christmas. (100 points)

  14. On the fourteenth day, I'm giving 300 points to fredsbend's answer to What were the Nephilim, and what role did they play in the Bible beyond just being mentioned? as one of the most thorough answers I've ever seen. 'nuff said.

  15. Rejoice in the Lord alway! Paul and Purcell teach us about the joy of sharing the Gospel on this fifteenth day, Gaudete Sunday. The Revised Common Lectionary gives us Isaiah 35:10, "the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." H3br3wHamm3r81 explains Why did early Christians in Acts still go to the Jewish temple every day? and it is with great joy that I reward a bounty. (300 points)

  16. Double bounty day! - (1) I wanted to find a post related to the prophet for whom today's feast day is named (Haggai), this answer to a question related to the Bride of Christ make an excellent reference to Haggai and his wife as a picture of our marriage to Christ. (300 points) (2) On the sixteenth day I like to remember what the Holy Father said "Our life must be centred on what is essential, on Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary," and with great joy I reward a bounty to the David Stratton's answer to What exactly does it mean that Jesus Christ is the son of God?, which answers such a fundamental question. (100 points)

  17. On the seventeenth day, since we are in the novena days, I want to reward the answer to What is the Catholic concept of grace?, which explains the concept of grace (100 points)

  18. The Psalm reading for the eighteenth day comes from Psalm 72:

    O God, endow the king with Your judgments,
    the king’s son with Your righteousness;

    that he may judge Your people rightly,
    Your lowly ones, justly.—Psalm 72:1b-2 (NJPS)

    During Advent, we look forward to the second coming of our King who will judge His people rightly. I'm awarding a bounty to David Stratton for reminding us that we must get right with other people before we can hope to be right with God. (100 points)

  19. The Psalm reading for the nineteenth day comes from Psalm 71:

    Be a sheltering rock for me to which I may always repair;
    decree my deliverance,
    for You are my rock and my fortress.—Psalm 73:3 (NJPS)

    Therefore, I award today's bounty to Thomas Shields for reminding us that Christ is our Rock who was struck to be a blessing to us. Let us sing a hymn of praise to our God for sheltering us. (100 points)

  20. The Psalm reading for the twentieth day comes from Psalm 24:

    O gates, lift up your heads!
    Lift them up, you everlasting doors,
    so the King of glory may come in!—Psalm 24:8(NJPS)

    The King who first came as an infant will fling open the doors of heaven and unite His Holy Church. I award today's bounty to Jas 3.1 for reminding us that division in the church plays a redemptive part in God's plan. (100 points)

  21. Today's lectionary comes from Zechariah, and while it isn't the same Zachariah as Eric talks about, this is still an important part of the Christmas story. In giving this wonderful answer into the difference between Zachariah and Mary, Eric shows what good theology does - it looks to the source material and seeks to ascertain the motivations behind them. (100 points)

  22. Paul didn't write much in a biographical way about Jesus. The whole Christmas story comes from the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke. We love to focus on the infant son of Mary, but that part of the story must have been the most scandalous bit originally. Instead the early Church focused on how the life and death of Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecies. Before the New Testament was written, God's plan was already evident in Scripture.

    I'm awarding a bounty to Affable Geek for his answer to What are the 'Scriptures' mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15? (100 points)

  23. To be awarded

  24. Merry Christmas everyone! David reminds us of God's incalcuable love in deigning to dwell with us here. A smelly diaper for the King of Kings. That's our God.

  25. To be awarded

(to be completed...)

Total rep given away: 3200

  • 2
    I suggest that we comment on the post that was given the bounty so people seeing the post first realize that it was this event. Like this
    – user3961
    Dec 5, 2013 at 21:20
  • 2
    Wow! thank you for your up-building words. It is always a wonderful feeling to hear from others your work is good and appreciated. I will continue in supporting the community with answers when I can. Again thank you :)
    – Jeremy
    Dec 5, 2013 at 21:23
  • @fredsbend good idea. That is how I found this about 1 minute before you posted that comment
    – Jeremy
    Dec 5, 2013 at 21:24
  • @PeterTurner and all.. You all are setting the bar pretty high for prose, style, and finding meaning for each day. Where are you getting the days from? I'm going to look AWFUL in comparison if I don't steal some tips from you. Dec 10, 2013 at 0:09
  • @DavidStratton I put a link to the Catholic Liturgical Calendar up. I just did a heavy dose of it since the other folks on the list aren't exactly Catholic. But the 12th is Our Lady of Guadalupe, that's too good a feast to pass by (although I can't find a whole lot to go off on the site!).
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Dec 10, 2013 at 0:27
  • 1
    I'm honored. Thanks :)
    – Dan
    Dec 11, 2013 at 4:11
  • With apologies for choosing answers to my own questions, but I just really liked those answers! :) Dec 11, 2013 at 18:17
  • 2
    @PeterTurner Thanks a lot :) 🎁🌟 I wish everyone here at christianity.se a meaningful Advent and a Merry Christmas. πŸŽ… πŸŽ„ Dec 12, 2013 at 15:00
  • 2
    Thank you @Wikis for your generosity, and thank you to all participants so far - those who have given, and those who have received.
    – James T
    Dec 12, 2013 at 18:02
  • 2
    That is probably the best compliment a perfectionist would want to hear. Thank you and Merry Christmas.
    – user3961
    Dec 14, 2013 at 6:37
  • And obviously only award it if it is deserved (there are other good answers), but as an Eastern (Orthodox) Catholic :P, I took a stab at this one @PeterTurner
    – Dan
    Dec 14, 2013 at 20:47
  • @JamesT: Thank you for the Advent Bounty! Please forgive me for not acknowledging the award sooner, as I was unaware of how the Advent Bounty works until I stumbled today onto this page in Christianity meta. I hope you had a blessed Christmas and that your new year is filled with mercy-drops and maybe even a shower or two! ("Mercy drops 'round us are falling, but for the showers we plead," Daniel Webster Whittle.) Don Jan 15, 2014 at 1:10

Sign up here

  1. James T
  2. James T
  3. James T
  4. Fredsbend
  5. Peter T
  6. Peter T
  7. Peter T
  8. Peter T
  9. Peter T
  10. Wikis
  11. Wikis
  12. David Stratton
  13. David Stratton
  14. David Stratton
  15. James T
  16. Wax Eagle / Elberich Schneider double bonus day
  17. Elberich Schneider
  18. Jon Ericson
  19. Jon Ericson
  20. Jon Ericson
  21. AffableGeek
  22. Jon Ericson
  23. AffableGeek
  24. AffableGeek
  25. AffableGeek
  • @ElberichSchneider, you seem to have missed your day (15th) that you signed up for. Please let me know as soon as you can whether you still intend to take part, or I will take over the 15th instead.
    – James T
    Dec 16, 2013 at 12:31
  • Elberich, I am sorry but I'm going to have to retroactively take over the 15th. Please say if you can still do the 16th and 17th.
    – James T
    Dec 16, 2013 at 17:17
  • Sorry, I forgot. I ask to be replaced because of commitments have meantime appeared. Dec 16, 2013 at 18:56
  • OK, thanks for letting us know. I'll open the two days up to new people. Best wishes for the season, @ElberichSchneider!
    – James T
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:31
  • I'm really afraid, but I'm having days full of things to do. Peace be with you. Dec 16, 2013 at 21:50
  • @ElberichSchneider it looks like we have a Confused Situation. I thought you had released the days and so the 16th was claimed by wax eagle, and a bounty awarded. But you have just awarded another. And Pavel has pre-emptively done one for the 17th. I will edit things to smooth it out if I can. In any case, more awards are fine; it just means that we have multiple answers per day for this day.
    – James T
    Dec 17, 2013 at 4:27
  • sorry, but this night (in Europe is night now) I find the time to respect my commitment on this day. And I would like to stay for 17th day, too. Dec 17, 2013 at 4:33
  • @ElberichSchneider Since Pavel has already done one for the 17th, do you mind sharing?
    – James T
    Dec 17, 2013 at 4:35
  • yes, but how can I share with Pavel the bounty? Dec 17, 2013 at 4:50
  • 1
    @ElberichSchneider it now appears you will not need to share, so you can go ahead and award the day's solo bounty whenever you like!
    – James T
    Dec 17, 2013 at 12:46

I saw that the 17th day of Advent (and of December, this year) is not claimed yet. But I got a little puzzled and I thought the advent started on the last of November for a while. As part of the game or not (probably not), I offered a bounty.

Today's first reading (Numbers 24:3-7.15-17) was about Balaam, so I chose Mike's answer for a question concerning this prophet, which I thought about before (even before discovering this site) and didn't figure out any answer as good as Mike's.

  • 1
    So you would like to claim Day 17? If so, put your name in the list and link to your profile. Then write up a paragraph about why you choose the question like it has been done here for the previous 16 days.
    – user3961
    Dec 17, 2013 at 0:02
  • Thanks Pavel for taking part, and as @fredsbend says, your participation won't be an official part of this unofficial initiative unless you do those steps ;-) Regardless, thank you for a wise choice of answer and for your generosity in awarding a bounty.
    – James T
    Dec 17, 2013 at 3:20
  • I'll stay unofficial. Anyway, this "pirate donation" is fun, and it definitely does worth it.
    – Pavel
    Dec 17, 2013 at 7:52

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