Day 8: Shiner Holiday Cheer

About the Beer:

When Robert and I started talking to the beer buyer at Otto’s (Yale) he immediately suggested Shiner Holiday Cheer, along with many other Christmas beers or winter seasonal. As we started to make the list, we kept removing it in favor of beers from local breweries. When we finally went in to finalize the list, Yale had put Shiner Holiday Cheer back on the list. When we asked him about it, he said that this is his favorite beer, and it was obvious then that we had to have it!

Since 1909, every drop of Shiner Beer has been brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery located in Shiner, Texas. Shiner Holiday Cheer is a traditional dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. It is a perfect beer to enjoy while sitting in front of a fire (or reflecting on an advent reading).  So here’s to hoping it lives up to the hype. Cheers to tonight’s beer and to Yale at Otto’s on Oakland!

You can learn more about Shiner Beers at their website:

Advent Reflection: Today marks the beginning of week 2 of Advent. At church, and in the center of my dining room table, we will be lighting the 2nd candle. The anticipation and the waiting continues, but hope is building. This week’s Scriptures from the daily lectionary speak to this “coming hope”. You can find the Scriptures here: Psalm 72:1-7, Isaiah 11:1-10, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12

This week’s Gospel reading focuses on the one who prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, John the Baptist and his fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-5. The reflection below comes from Fr. Richard Rohr and his book “Preparing for Christmas”. I greatly appreciate this perspective. Cheers!

John the Baptist’s qualities are most rare and yet crucial for any reform or authentic transformation of persons or groups. That is why we focus on John the Baptist every Advent and why Jesus trusts him and accepts his non-temple, offbeat nature ritual, while also going far beyond him. Water is only the container; fire and Spirit are the contents, John says. Yet if we are not like the great John, we will invariably substitute our own little container for the real contents. We will substitute rituals for reality instead of letting the rituals point us beyond themselves.

John the Baptizer is the strangest combination of conviction and humility, morality and mysticism, radical prophecy and living in the present. This son of the priestly temple class does his own thing down by the riverside; he is a man born of privilege who dresses like a hippie; he is a superstar who is willing to let go of everything, creating his own water baptism and then saying that what really matters is the baptism of “Spirit and fire”! He is a living paradox, as even Jesus says of him: “There is no man greater than John…but he is also the least” in the new reality that I am bringing about (Matthew 11:11). John both gets it and does not get it at all, which is why he has to exit stage right early in the drama. He has played his single and important part, and he knows it. His is brilliantly a spirituality of descent, not ascent. “He must grow bigger, I must grow smaller” (John 3:30).

The only way such freedom can happen is if John learned to be very empty of himself already as a young man, before he even built his tower of success. His ego was out of the way so much so that he could let go of his own ego, his own message and even his own life. This is surely the real meaning of his head on a platter! Some have cleverly said that ego is an acronym for “Edging God Out”. There’s got to be such emptiness, or we cannot point beyond ourselves to Jesus, as John the Baptist did. Such emptiness doesn’t just fall into our laps; such humility does not just happen. It is surely the end product of a thousand letting-goes and a thousand acts of devotion, which for John the Baptist gradually edged God in.Fr. Richard Rohr “Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent”

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