Beer Advent Day 21: Sideshow


Brewery:  Door County Brewing Co.

Location:  Bailey’s Harbor, WI

Style:  Belgian style IPA   ABV: 6.3%

Contributed By:  Shelia Otto  (Thanks Sheila!)

Our second featured beer from Door County Brewing this Beer Advent is a Belgian IPA.  This IPA will have fruity notes of melon and oranges due to the Belgian yeast that is added.  This IPA focuses more on flavor and aroma rather than bitterness which so many IPA’s tend to showcase.  As you pour it into your mason jar or pint glass, be sure to smell the lovely Belgian aromas!


Advent Reflection:  Luke 2: 6-7
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


Few images of the nativity are complete without this menagerie of barnyard beasts. By the time our crèches are installed each year an ark-like peaceable kingdom has been created. Religion reporter John Allemang writes, “The manger scene evolves from a messy chaotic household with animals underfoot to a kind of petting zoo, and finally to an over-the-top tribute to the wonders of the natural world.”

What a surprise to discover that many biblical scholars suggest there were no animals in the same space where Mary actually gave birth. According to them the couple did not seek lodging at a commercial inn. Instead they most likely stayed in the back portion of Joseph’s ancestral compound since other relatives who’d arrived earlier probably occupied the guest rooms.

Ben Witherington, New Testament professor at Asbury Seminary says,

Archeology has shown that in such homes you had a partition wall between the main front part of the house and the place where you kept your prized animals. But these are Jews of course, so the animals would have been left outside, and the place quickly cleaned for Mary and the baby in view of ritual purity issues. This also explains Luke’s reference to Mary doing the ritual purity procedures after giving birth, due to the possibility of uncleanness being contracted in such a locale.

Origen, an early church father (185-254), got the ball rolling by associating Isaiah 1:3 with the nativity manger, “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib. Therefore, the animals, the ox and the ass, with him in their midst incessantly adored him.” And Saint Francis, the animal-loving monk, is credited with creating the first living nativity in 1223; replete with smelly animals he fondly referred to as his “brothers and sisters.”

Regardless of the presence or absence of animals at Christ’s nativity, the mystery of salvation is that Christ came to redeem all of creation. One wonders if some part of the animal kingdom wasn’t aware of God’s incarnation on the night of his birth?

Over the past quarter century scientific researchers have confirmed that human intelligence isn’t necessarily superior to other animals, it’s merely different. Contrary to commonly held assumptions, Cambridge neuroscientist, Jenny Morton, has discovered that sheep, for example, are quite intelligent animals. “Sheep can perform executive cognitive tasks, are adaptable, can map out their surroundings mentally and may even be able to plan ahead.”

A beautiful verse found in the book of Job (12:7-10) states, “If you want to learn, then go and ask the wild animals and birds, the flowers and the fish. Any of them can tell you what the Lord has done. Every living creature is in the hands of God.” As many can attest, the loyalty, faithfulness, friendship and humility of animals is often more intense and long lasting than some of our human relationships, and a poignant reminder to us all. Again quoting from John Allemang, “Animals mirror human values better than many humans, often seem to know us better than we know ourselves and live beautifully complex lives beyond our control and understanding.”

Christ God, source and sustainer of all life, we cherish the myriad works of your hands. Water, earth, and sky are yours as are all their inhabitants, wild and tame. We thank you for creatures that nourish and serve us, befriend, enrich, entertain, and protect us. May we who are made in your image care for them well, and your groaning yet wondrous creation rally and thrive, revealing to all who come after us your wise, redemptive and transforming love.

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