Meditation :: The Advent Wreath

Meditation :: The Advent Wreath

Dank fens of cedar; hemlock-branches gray
With trees and trail of mosses, wringing-wet;
Beds of the black pitchpine in dead leaves set
Whose wasted red has wasted to white away;

Why hold ye so my heart, nor dimly let
Through your deep leaves the light of yesterday . . .
Is it that in your darkness, shut from strife,
The bread of tears becomes the bread of life?

—from Sonnets, First Series (Sonnet VI) by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

Northern white-cedar, eastern hemlock, soft white pine . . . I gather them in the quiet afternoon hours of the first Sunday in Advent. In early December the sun rests low in the sky, mostly hidden behind the leaves and needles of the conifers that half-ring our yard. Not one of these trees belongs to me—they sit just outside what I might call my own—but I do not think these stolid natives of the eastern lands much mind the quick snips of my shears, or my pilfering just a few sprigs from their still-lush beauty. The trees are who they have always been and I do what we have always done, as the wheel of the year turns and the darkness descends. The evergreens bear on, and we fragile creatures of the earth gather their boughs and wait for the Light.

the advent wreath 1
the advent wreath 2
the advent wreath 3
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the advent wreath 8

Guest Post :: The Homely Hours

Guest Post :: The Homely Hours

The Homely Hours is featuring a guest post I wrote for their Book of Common Prayer in Daily Life series. Click on the image below to read my thoughts (link is also at the bottom of this post).


My dad has always been great at off-the-cuff prayers. No matter what the occasion—Easter dinner or just a family meal—he can pull together a prayer on the spot that is both authentic and meaningful. I am not blessed with my dad’s talent for spontaneous prayer, but I can still offer up words of praise or petitions for intercession, thanks to the Book of Common Prayer. . .

Read more via The Homely Hours.

Christmas

Christmas

Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it;
that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.

—G.K. Chesterton, from The New Jerusalem, Ch. 5

our christmas 47

And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that
He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains
and oceans—and all that lives and move upon them.
He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit
and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused—
and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.

—Sigrid Undset

christmas collage

The Book of Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 1-20 (KJV)

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.