Friday, December 31, 2010
For many of us although a new year is full of hope and promises, it is sometimes hard to reach beyond discouragement and truly live in hope and perseverance of your dreams.
To all of my friends and family who have endured challenges, hardships, discouragement, and disappointment this year, this is for you. Your strength and perseverance is truly an inspiration to me. Keep on keeping on.
In 2011, continue to "do it anyway", and you may just see mountains move, and veils lifted before your very eyes.
by Ben Jonson
I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?
Thursday, December 30, 2010
by Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel
"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
by G.K.ChestertonThere fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.
This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
Day 4 The Holy Night
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
Softened their horned faces
To almost human gazes
Toward the newly Born:
The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
Brought their visionary looks,
As yet in their astonied hearing rung
The strange sweet angel-tonge:
The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
The incense, myrrh, and gold
These baby hands were impotent to hold:
So let all earthlies and celestials wait
Upon thy royal state.
Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!
Moonless darkness stands between
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
by George Herbert
The shepherds sing ; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul ’s a shepherd too : a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word ; the streams, thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
Take up his place and right :
We sing one common Lord ; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching, till I finde a sunne
Shall stay, till we have done ;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipt sunnes look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay :
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev’n his beams sing, and my musick shine.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
A Christmas Poem
by Catherine Doherty
You who are
from all men.
Into the silence
Surrender to it.
You who are
Come to the
You who are
Child in it
Is what you seek.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
In a way that is entirely unique to the thoughtful atmosphere that a solitary road trip provides, taking an airplane ride always seems to provoke a singular sense of reflection and introspection for me.
Last night I think I put my finger on why. Flying high above the houses and hills, trees and clouds, being able to see the earth beneath you for miles and miles gives you a superhuman perspective. Both literally and figuratively.
This is not a perspective that, unless you are a pilot or stewardess, you see on a daily basis. It is a perspective that evokes a sense of wonder and awe. In a mysterious way, it helps you to gain a more vivid sense of your place in the world. Seeing the expansive earth below me made me think about what a small part it is that I have in this universe; yet I have a totally singular part in this universe. Even more amazing, is the realization that amidst all of this vast and orchestrated creation, we were created by God to fulfill a specific role and to answer a specific call. It's marvelous.
In the midst of the metaphysical thoughts that looking out of your airplane window evokes, it also beckons one to put all of your current worries, problems, plans, and experiences in a larger perspective. In the perspective of the Eternal Creator.
Of course, it also makes you think of the heavens, feel closer to the heavens, and meditate on what heaven is like.
I think that also, it fills you with a sense of gratitude. About a half an hour before we landed in Pittsburgh, I reveled in the night scene outside my window. The billowy clouds beneath the plane looked like we were traveling above fluffy cotton candy. The sky above the clouds was hazy, and then turned into a light blue, which turned into a darker blue, leading the eye to gaze at the clear stars and the bright almost-full moon.
It looked like a scene from a storybook. But we were traveling in it. It was magnificant.
"The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:41