Saturday, December 25, 2010
THE 12TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:
Today I leave you with Yo Yo Ma (and other exotic instrumentation) accompanying Alison Krauss singing a stunningly beautiful version of The Wexford Carol, a beloved traditional Irish Christmas carol. The lyrics date back to the 12th century.
The Wexford Carol
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born
The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox's stall
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God's angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife
There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.
Friday, December 24, 2010
We can do no great things
Only small things
With great love
-- Mother Teresa
Karma Tube does it again: The Dalai Lama once said that the most generous act there is, compassion, is actually a selfish act: "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
What does generosity mean to you? Why do you give? What can you give? Here are some thoughts from a group of volunteers for CharityFocus, an organization that focuses on the practice of selfless generosity and small acts of kindness. How would you answer these questions for yourself?
Friday, December 24, 2010
Notre Dame Cathedral
Though they were not as angelic as these Monks of the Abbey of Montserrat which I share with you on this Christmas eve, they still remind me of the High Mass I used to attend every year as a child with my mom on Christmas eve at midnight -- with the incense, the chanting the Latin mass. Precious memories.
THE 11TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:
Thursday, December 23, 2010
"Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look."
Tahquamenon Falls, MI, in Winter
Fra. Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar. Today we remember him most for his reassuring letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513.
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Christ Emmanuel, icon with riza by
Simon Ushakov, 1668. According to
the Gospel of Matthew, Emmanuel
refers to Jesus.
I share today a haunting piece by Loreena McKennitt, Emmanuel, from the album A Midwinter Night's Dream. I'm totally infatuated by her talent and approach to music.
For those who are not acquainted with this extraordinary talent, McKennitt is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes, records and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. Researching and singing in authentic dialects and languages and using indigenous instrumentation is a hallmark of her work, and she has been awarded honorary doctorates and other awards for these scholarly pursuits as well as her musical accomplishments.
THE 10TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:
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