Showing posts from December 20, 2009

My best Christmas gift.

There were young triplets at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key yesterday for the Christmas Day Eucharist. Two boys and one girl aged maybe 5 or 6.

They were at Church with Mummy and Daddy, and with their grandparents. I surmised that the family were at home for the holidays.

Two of these children, a boy and a girl were deliciously shy. The other boy was less inhibited.

As they knelt at the altar rail I could not see their faces. So I also knelt, so that I could give them God’s blessing, laying my hand upon each head and saying “the blessing of Christ, the bread of heaven”.

Before I could get back on my feet the less shy child looked me in the eyes. Then he reached out his hand and placed it on my head, in wordless blessing.

He had given me a wonderful Christmas gift, one which left me all teary eyed.

The work of Christmas

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To release the prisoner
To teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman

A Christmas Meditation by J. Michael Povey

In Willa Cather’s short story “A gold slipper”, (published in 1920) the author has introduced us to Marshall McKann, a straight-laced, dull and pedantic business man.

Cather tells us that McKann’s “religion was not very spiritual, certainly, but it was substantial and concrete, made up of good, hard convictions and opinions. It had something to do with citizenship, with whom one ought to marry, with the coal business (in which he own name was powerful), with the Republican party, and with all majorities and established precedents.”

In the story McKann has a conversation with Kitty Ayrshire, a famous singer. He had with great reluctance attended a recital she gave at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall, and now they find themselves to be riding the same train to New York City.

Kitty tries her best to shake his solid convictions about artists. He is certain that that they all are “light people….who have no depth”.  McKann confesses that he had been dragged to the concert. 

Kitty respond…

O Holy Night. ( My re-blog from December 10th 2008)

O Holy NightEpiscopalians/Anglicans have been quite snobby about the Christmas Hymn “O Holy Night”. It’s been a bit too flashy for our culture.

I was introduced to it some 45 years ago when my friend Kitty Draper would play it for us, and for her daughters Yvonne and Marilyn.  She loved the Nat King Cole version, and so do I.

The first link below will tell you something of the history of this song. Note please the abolitionist sentiments of the American translator. That's what makes the song so powerful.

READ all about it here:

Then, if you will, listen to the Nat King Cole version on YouTube
 (Google/Videos -  O Holy Night/ Nat King Cole)
Here is the text
 1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and gloriou…

President Obama - the best!

Those of us who are left of centre in our political convictions are often very idealistic. Our ideas are worthy and good, but often they will not fly in the real world of hard-nosed politics.

We were exultant when Barack Obama was elected to be our President. We expected great things of him. We were too starry eyed to see the world of real politics. So we are a bit discouraged, and far less exuberant about his Presidency.

The American contribution to the climate change conference in Copenhagen falls far short of our ideals, as do the likely changes to our health care system.

Nonetheless if John McCain had been elected...........?

It is all too easy for us to forget that the United States of America is an essentially “right of centre” country, and that any President must lead at least from the centre.

We also forget that the American Senate is innately conservative (note the lower case “c”), and is therefore very unlikely to vote in favour of truly radical measures.

In other words, P…

Let down by a Mennonite.

In the England of my youth all but a few retail businesses were forbidden by law to do business on Sundays.
“Newsagents”  those little shops which sold newspapers, magazines, tobacco products and sweets (candy) were allowed to open at least on Sunday mornings.
Then there were the “Off Licences”.  These shops were those which were licenced by the local authority to sell beer and spirits for “consumption off the premises”.   
Off Licences” also carried a limited inventory of those other products which under law could be sold on Sundays.  I cannot remember the details, but I do remember that the list of “approved products” was entirely inconsistent.
Pubs were allowed to open for a few hours at lunch time, and for evening hours. 
Some of those pubs also had an additional door leading to a little counter at what was called a “jug and bottle”. There you could purchase beer or ale which was drawn from barrels in the cellar to the jug or bottle you bought with you!
These Sunday trading laws reflec…