Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Little Town of Bethlehem

We have an olive wood carving of Mary, Joseph and Jesus and the donkey - headed to Egypt - given to us by my mother from her travels to Israel and Egypt. I wonder what she would think if she visited now?

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

h/t to Lesley's Blog

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cats and Christmas trees

My thoughts on Christmas past are here

A video from Simon's Cat and some thoughts about this year below:

This year is joyous and difficult. I have been re-united with a church where I was kicked out 12 or so year ago. Will preside at the Christmas eve service. I have been doing 8 a.m. services on Sunday and this past Sunday I preached at the later service. It was a place I had not served for all these years. Things have happened to begin what I hope is a healing time for the church. It is the church where all our kids were baptized and who supported me for ordination and where I was ordained Epiphany 1996. As in my sermon for Advent 3 - one never knows the ending of any of these events. (nor probably the beginning).

On the other end of the scale my older brother died this year. It is odd to think about that empty space at the family table. We did not see each other often but we talked on the phone to catch up on family events. I can go for weeks and not think about him as when he was alive but then the loss sneaks up and pounces on me. This year our church is offering a Blue Christmas service - I will be there to light a candle and sit with my grief for an hour or so. Then I will enter into the festivities probably with a little reserved part of my heart.