Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Night

On this Twelfth Day of Christmas my true Love gave to me three swans a-swimming!!  Well, who hasn't got that song mixed up!  Nevertheless, a lovely gift.
Starting in the 4th century, the birth of Jesus was celebrated on the winter solstice.  In calendars in use in the West the solstice was December 25.  In calendars in use in the East the solstice was January 6.  Eventually the 12 days between these two dates were set aside to celebrate the birth of God-Become-Flesh.  Such an earth changing event deserves a long celebration and a special song.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Star

"Today  the Magi find crying in a manger
the one they have followed as he shone in the sky. 
Today the Magi see clearly, in swaddling clothes,
the one they have long awaited as he lay hidden among the stars.
Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see:
heaven on earth, earth in heaven
man in God, God in man
one whom the whole universe cannot contain
now enclosed in a tiny body"
                     --Peter Chrysologus

(click on the picture to see the star)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas!

Lake is completely thawed and right now the fog is so thick that I can't see anything beyond my shore.  The Magi will need my Christmas lights to find their way.
For the rest of the Days of Christmas try not watching 20 minutes of news and spend the time in contemplative prayer, just sitting still, maybe with your Christmas lights glowing, and listening for the Good News.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happier and Holier New Year

Some of my friends don't see how they can have a happy new year with all the bad news about our country and our world.  Three of them told me that even before they get out of bed in the morning they listen to the news.  Well, stop doing that!  For a happier and holier new year, try less news, more prayer.

Friday, December 30, 2016

6 Snowy Days on this 6th Day of Christmas

I left to green grass and a frozen lake.  I returned to snow and a melted lake.
I've been away for a large family party and a 50th wedding anniversary.  Many warm memories and present joys.  Added to the wonderful Christmas Day celebration with my own immediate family, these Days of Christmas are overflowing with Gracious Love whom the season celebrates.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Green Christmas

When I walked this Christmas morning I was struck by how much of the lawns were still green.  The Lake is mostly frozen, but down in our cove (to the right of the picture) it has melted.  Sun came out bright and clear this afternoon.
Snow and Christmas so often go together in our part of the world, that it takes some deliberate effort this year to "think Christmas."  Outward signs have a huge impact on our interior life.  But as I walked I made myself think about Bethlehem and how Jesus was probably born in warm weather, if  shepherds had their sheep out in the fields.  A real place.  A real event.  Meaning takes over.
Love became flesh to wake the Divine within us.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ancient Christmas Card

At the time of sunrise
a ray grazes the notch on the left side
on Christmas Day.
A Feast-day of the Church,
the first season of the year.
The season of the Blessed Advent
of the Savior, Lord Christ.
Behold, he is born of Mary, a woman.

The writing in the picture is on a rock wall in  southwestern West Virginia.  Archeologist Robert Pyle has identified it as Celtic Ogam from 500-800 A.D.  The translation is by Barry Fell.  There are similar petroglyphs in the same area.  That Celts (Irish monks?) were here that early is astonishing. Even more astonishing is that they took the trouble to carve this Christmas message on rock, to share with the ages their faith in the Incarnation.
(The picture and the translation are from the cover of the March, 1983, issue of Wonderful West Virginia magazine.)