The Fayre

Carnival, Mardi Gras, Celebration, Mardi Gras Mask

Pixabay

A wandered forth – for a breath of air

And happened upon the village square

It had transformed since I’d last been there

It now sported – a travelling fayre

There were breathers of fire, and a juggling pair

Their costumes elaborate – and their act had flair

The excitement was more than I could bear

So I beat a retreat away from there

 

Padre

Saturday Mix – Rhyme Time:

“This week I am introducing a new challenge to the Saturday Mix – ‘Rhyme Time.

‘Rhyme Time’ focuses on the use of rhyme to build your writing piece. You will be given six rhyming words* and need to use all of them (but not limited to these) in your response, which should be a poetry form of your choice.

*Homophones can be used as alternatives to the challenge words.

Our rhyming words this week are:

  1. square
  2. air
  3. bare (or bear)
  4. flare (or flair)
  5. pair (or pear)
  6. fair (or fare)”

Nativity: An Etheree

Christmas Crib Figures, Jesus Child

Pixabay

Sweet
Infant,
Manger born –
Angelic Hosts,
Your nativity
To the shepherds proclaim.
In David’s town, as foretold –
Emmanuel to Earth, You came.
Born King of kings and the Lord of Lords
Yet in the humble stable’s hay you were lain.

Padre

The Hart of Christmas: Haibun

Reindeer, Norway, Snow, Sami, Mammal

Pixabay

Much has been made of the cold and foggy night which brought Rudolph onto Santa’s team, but he is a late comer as we all know.  Yes – ladies and gentleman, boys and girls –  Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and Cupid all preceded the red-nosed star of song and film.  But when it comes the the true “Harts of Christmas,”  Dunder and Blixem, that Thunder and Lightening to you and me, were the original stars.  Isn’t it amazing what a good publicist can do for a scrawny red-nosed fawn?  Give me Thunder and Lightening any day!

True Christmas harts fly
Swift Lightening and Thunder
Tow Santa’s sleigh high

Padre

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge December 24, 2019: “Heart of Christmas”

The prompt was for a poem, but I couldn’t resist the pun so went with a haibun.

Advent Thoughts

the cross of christ

image: chuchleaders.com

Advent has come,

For many,  a manger to seek.

But that precious Babe we all adore

Was born  – an appointment to keep.

Gold and incense in the straw were laid,

But with bitter myrrh by their side.

The great joy of His coming

Shepherds did spread

It’s fulfillment – would make Mary weep.

 

Padre

 

 

 

Feast of Stephen

Today is Boxing Day here in England, and in much of “the British World.” The term is relatively new (19th Century), but the practices linked to it are much older. It revolves around the idea of “Christmas Boxes” which were given to formal servants or others who had provided “service” such as postmen, etc.

Christmas Boxes often contained bonuses, small gifts, and often small parcels old clothes or leftover food from the more “well to do” benefactors’ Christmas celebrations.

This spirit of giving is linked to the day in its more Christian manifestation: St Stephen’s Day.  Many people in the English speaking world know of it as “The feast of Stephen,” as mentioned in the carol Good King Wenceslas.

Wenceslas was known for his acts of charity and alms. In the song he is depicted as  wandering through the snow to give relief to the down trodden,

 

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay ‘round about
Deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither, page, and stand by me,
If thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence,
Underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence,
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh and bring me wine,
Bring me pine logs hither;
Thou and I will see him dine,
When we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch forth they went,
Forth they went together,
Through the rude wind’s wild lament
And the bitter weather.

“Sire, the night is darker now,
And the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, good my page,
Tread thou in them boldly;
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod,
Where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.

(lyrics source: https://www.christmasmusicsongs.com)

This giving of oneself ultimately follows the example of Stephen himself, who gave his life in service of God.  He is noted as the first Christian martyr, and his example of piety is a model for us.  We may never be called upon to “lay down our lives for a friend,” in a literal manner, but we can give of ourselves and our resources, as did Wenceslas, and the “box-givers” of the past.

Padre

 

Of Gifts

magi_tissot868x600

Pastor Rich spoke this week about the gifts of the Christmas narrative. He acknowledged that the greatest gift of the nativity was Christ, the Emmanuel “God with us.” We were a people lost in our trespasses, “But God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son.” The angel dictated that this child would be named Jesus “God Saves.” Wow, that is a gift! We who had no means of redeeming ourselves were in this birth saved. In the words of the carol: “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled.”

But in the nativity story itself, we have the additional mention of gifts at the hands of Gentile visitors, the Magi. These men who had seen a star in the East travel to find the fulfillment of prophecy. Their journey at first takes them to Jerusalem, but it is not the palace they sought, but a far more humble abode in Bethlehem. When they arrive they bring gifts, but these are not token presents, but powerfully symbolic gestures.

The gift of gold was an offering worthy of a king. Jesus “King of kings, and Lord of lords” was rightly bestowed with this emblem. Frankincense a fragrant substance used in incense, perfumes, and precious oils was the next treasure. The scent of frankincense was a symbol of prayer, as its fragrance was seen to be graced upwards to heaven, as our prayers should. It was a gift for a priest. Jesus is our High Priest, a priest of the order of  Melchizedek, a go-between bridging man and God. The final offering was myrrh, a resin used in burial rights. It marked Jesus’ mission on Earth.  He was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” Sacrifice was to be His destiny, but in so doing He would redeem humanity.

While such symbolisms may be overlooked in today’s “gift” obsessed culture, they are powerful fulfillments of prophecy, and signs to us that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

The gifts were also practical in their nature, however.  A carpenter, his wife, and an infant child were about to flee from the wrath of King Herod. Their escape route would take them into Egypt. Think about a family from Nazareth, temporarily in Judea for a census.  Would they have abundant funds? God’s provision for the fulfilling of His plan is clear. Gold a ready currency virtually anywhere (even today) would assure passage. Egypt with its multiple deities, and elaborate funerary rites would have a steady need of frankincense and myrrh. The Holy Family was well set up for their exile, and given means for their return, that the Messiah’s mission might be fulfilled.

Padre

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt- Padre

This is a piece I wrote on the theme of what is important or special about the “Holiday Season.” I hope many can share my sentiment.

The important things in this season are not the commercial hype, or even Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It is time with my wife. She has made a bold stand against cancer for the past few years, and as we enter the “holiday season,” she has remained my love, and constant companion even though the oncologist’s predicted “departure date” has already passed.
The valuing of the company of one you love is at the heart of this season of Christmas. The nativity account is telling.  When Joseph found that Mary was with child, he looked to end their relationship “quietly.” Why? While it is speculation it seems that there was real love there. Had he made her pregnancy public, and denied paternity, she faced a potential violent death. He chose the “quiet” approach to spare her.  Her “innocence” is later confirmed by an angel, and with that assurance, Joseph takes her as his wife. This is love.
Companionship, shared moments, and making every minute count are the treasures of this season together. I hope and pray that our “holiday seasons” will continue to come.
Padre

Brave & Reckless

The important things in this season are not the commercial hype, or even Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It is time with my wife. She has made a bold stand against cancer for the past few years, and as we enter the “holiday season,” she has remained my love, and constant companion even though the oncologist’s predicted “departure date” has already passed.
The valuing of the company of one you love is at the heart of this season of Christmas. The nativity account is telling.  When Joseph found that Mary was with child, he looked to end their relationship “quietly.” Why? While it is speculation it seems that there was real love there. Had he made her pregnancy public, and denied paternity, she faced a potential violent death. He chose the “quiet” approach to spare her.  Her “innocence” is later confirmed by an angel, and with that assurance, Joseph…

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Advent: The Coming . . .

Advent is “the coming of a notable person or thing.” It is the expectation of something spectacular, and spectacularly the world is transformed. Lights, lights, and more lights mark the expectation. Quiet suburban streets are transfigured into something resembling a Tokyo business district, a world of incandescent glory.

But what is the great expectation for? Is Black Friday a term packed with more meaning than first meets the eye? Is it a season bereft of any spirit other than hype?

Yet, in our churches, the very place where the true “Light of the World” is proclaimed, a ring of four simple candles, one lit anew each week marks the coming of “a notable person,” one whose arrival was first marked by a single star.

Padre


 

Inspired by Weekly Prompts: Advent

Beyond Paper Doors

 

advent

 

Beyond Paper Doors

 

Chocolate hidden behind paper doors,

One opened every day –

All leading our expectations to –

More gift’s on X-mas Day.

 

What lies beyond those paper doors?

Not greed that leads astray –

But rather sacrifice to us does call,

To prepare, and wait, and pray.

 

Advent is an expectation,

Of God’s true gift to come,

And the One who was born just to die,

So victory could be won.

 

Let us then remember,

Advent’s true nature and call –

Each paper door brings us near –

To the Babe in the stable stall.

 

Padre

_______________________

This is the second of my Advent poems, and I hope the theme is clear.  Please note that “X-mas” is purposely used to indicate the diminishing of the reverence of the season.

Padre

Preparation

225975-675x450-five-lit-candles-on-advent-wreath

Preparation

Another winter closing in,

Dark evenings growing colder.

Violet candles will soon be lit.

Each one preparing for

Nativity’s

Throne of hay.

 

Padre


 

The Advent season is now here. This time of preparation and anticipation of the coming of Emmanuel is one of contemplation and focus on the spiritual rather than the material.  We so often get caught up in the X-mas hype, that we loose focus on the Christ.

Let us keep our eyes on the manger.

Padre

See also: Beyond Paper Doors