Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Here are some pictures from the 10 AM Mass on Christmas Day 2004. I'd love to have pictures for you from Christmas Eve, but unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me (not that I could have taken pictures while serving as crucifer anyway).
At the conclusion of the 10 AM service, Father Smith led stragglers in a round of Happy Birthday to You in honor of Woody, who turned 90 years old on Christmas Day. Congratulations, Woody!
Unfortunately, my digital camera is old enough that it's not really up to the challenge of taking really good photos of the interior of St. Michael's. It's just too big and too dark to show up well. However, I'm sure I saw someone else's flash go off over Christmas. If anyone has any better pictures of any of the Christmas services, I'll be delighted to post them. Please email me at mavarin @ aol.com. -- Karen
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, has had plenty of magic attributed to him, but earlier in his career, such deeds were called "miracles." In the song below, Nicholas tells a small part of the story of his life.
The Bishop of Myra has something to say
About celebrations of each Christmas Day:
"It's not about me,
But rather for He
Who preserves all our souls, and o'er Heaven holds sway.
"You know me as Santa, and sometimes St. Nick,
Father Christmas, Kris Kringle...my legends grow thick.
But in my mortal life,
I ne'er had a wife,
Nor reindeer--and those are not names I would pick.
"In Patara, in Asia in the third century,
I was orphaned while young, and yet blessed, as you'll see.
They left me with wealth,
And my very good health,
And the chance to indulge generosity.
"It was my great joy to look after the poor,
For Earth's treasures mean little; Heaven's treasures I store.
I gave wealth away,
And to this very day,
I've a penchant for gifts children still thank me for.
"When in Myra, Lycia, they could not decide
On a bishop, replacing the one who had died,
A dream said, 'Watch for
Morning's first through that door,
That worshiper will next in Myra abide.'
"As you may have guessed, I rose early that morn,
Ignorant of the station for which I was born.
'What's your name, lad?' they cried.
'Nicholas,' I replied.
Soon a bishop's tall miter my head would adorn.
"I've averted a famine, and calmed storms at sea,
Resurrections of children they credit to me,
I'm patron to poor,
Children, poets and more,
Professions and churches and lands like Sicily.
"At Nicea a council was held, and I went,
From all the known world, other clergy were sent.
I slapped one who denied
God in Three doth abide.
The creed called "Nicene" our group soon would invent.
"The things I did then, in my time on the Earth,
All came about because of our dear Lord's birth.
Once a baby, he grew,
And conquered death, too,
Reconciled us to God, and gave all our souls worth."
My semi-original melody was similar to the Johann M. Haydn melody for the hymn How Firm a Foundation. Mine wasn't as good, so let's adopt the Haydn.
MIDI borrowed from www.cyberhymnal.org
Monday, December 06, 2004
by Karen Funk Blocher
The archbishop of Myra returned to his prayers with satisfaction, wonder, and guilt. Satisfaction, because the girl had awakened at the sound of the bag of gold hitting the dirt floor, and received it joyfully. The dowry meant that she would marry, and have a good life instead of one of degradation. Wonder, because only the Almighty knew the source of the gold. Guilt, because he had accidentally seen the girl unclothed. What if that was not what the Lord had wanted him to do?
Nicholas prayed for an hour or more, and went back to bed. Dawn would come soon, and with it morning vespers. In his dreams he was no longer a clergyman, but a toymaker. He had a wife, but no children except the world's children. He wore strange red and white garments to keep out the cold, for he lived in a place of snow and ice. He drove a chariot without wheels, pulled by strange deer never seen in Asia, and gave toys, not gold, to children who called him by dozens of names.
When he awoke, he wondered: was this a prophetic dream, a nightmare, or both? He got up, pulled on his cassock and slippers, and stepped outside for the short walk to the church. The dawn air was still and warm, and the stars were fading into the growing daylight. Nicholas heard a jingling bell that was not a church bell. A single snowflake fell from heaven into the bishop's hand.
St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus