Most of us would agree that using current events to predict the future is a good way to be wrong. Yet as we are one year short of the quincentennial anniversary of the Reformation, the seismic shifts in our culture – particularly the rapidity of information dissemination and the resulting ability to tear down venerable authorities – should compel us to examine how we might be able to engage people in Western culture.
The Homeless Princess
How do you see yourself today? I’d like you to see yourself as God sees you. Let me hold up a mirror.
One upon a time there was a princess. As you know, a princess is a daughter of the king. She’s a member of the royal family with position, authority, and a destiny.
But this princess didn’t know it. Or maybe she ignored it, or for some reason, didn’t believe it. I don’t know why exactly, but the truth is that she wasn’t living like she was a princess.
January is here, with eyes that keenly glow,
A frost-mailed warrior
striding a shadowy steed of snow.
Excerpt from “The Masque of Months” by Edgar Fawcett
The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.
The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.
The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
Purrs all day.
Once a year we celebrate a festivity called Christmas
There are many elements in this gaiety known as Christmas
‘Tis the season of giving and receiving
‘Tis a musical of carols and bells
‘Tis a time of miracles and stories
‘Tis the reality of coldness and whiteness
One can find other items:
hot chocolate and marshmallows
snowballs and sleigh rides
hard hearts melting under the gentle touch of love
This week around tables and living rooms across the world, families gather. Christmas Eve. Christmas morning. Christmas dinner. The long, lazy days after Christmas. Sitting together sharing stories, gifts, and great food. At least this is what we want, right?
Some families have this experience. Some don’t. Some of us wish we had people to be with. Some of us get to be around people, but not really with them, spending hours with people we don’t really connect with out of some kind of obligation.
In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.
In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.
I was startled one March morning to notice a massive buttery spread of thousands of flowers along the tree-studded ridges where I had walked daily. How had I missed hints of this development? Had it occurred last spring as well? Even the carpet of green blotchy foliage which precedes the blooms and was so obvious the following years, had gone unnoticed. Further investigation revealed that this was an endangered woodland plant: yellow trout lilies (erythronium americanum), that grew in colonies and could take up to eight years to reach maturity and bloom.
Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, before the prayer is said, it’s become a tradition in my family to go around the table and say what we have been thankful for this year. Perhaps your family has a similar custom. It seems the ritual has been around for much longer than you or me – as The Book of Common Prayer’s beautiful litany holds true as much today as it did when originally published in 1549.
In celebration of this Thanksgiving Day and the season of giving on which we are about to embark, I’d like to share this Litany of Thanksgiving: