Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23rd...

Well, here it is the twenty-third of December.

I wish I were ready for the big day, but like Santa,
there is always much to do until the final reindeer is hooked up,
 and the sleigh takes off.

My list is made, my routes planned out
(I've been told I get a little stressed this time of year).
Somehow everything will get accomplished.  In the end,
if something falls through the cracks, it doesn't really matter...
It is Christmas!


my little elf is on his way!

Merry Christmas everyone!
May your Christmas be all you wish it to be.

Enjoy the music of the season.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Joyful, Joyful

  1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
    God of glory, Lord of love;
    Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
    Op’ning to the sun above.

    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
    Drive the dark of doubt away;
    Giver of immortal gladness,
    Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.

  1. Field and forest, vale and mountain,
    Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
    Singing bird and flowing fountain
    Call us to rejoice in Thee.

  2. Thou art giving and forgiving,
    Ever blessing, ever blest,
    Wellspring of the joy of living,
    Ocean depth of happy rest!

    Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
    All who live in love are Thine;
    Teach us how to love each other,
    Lift us to the joy divine.

    Mortals, join the happy chorus,
    Which the morning stars began;
    Father love is reigning o’er us,
    Brother love binds man to man.

  3. Ever singing, march we onward,
    Victors in the midst of strife,
    Joyful music leads us Sunward
    In the triumph song of life.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Jolly old Saint Nicholas,
Lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul
What I'm going to say.
Christmas Eve is coming soon;
Now you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me;
Tell me if you can.

When the clock is striking twelve,
When I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black,
With your pack you'll creep.

via vintageimages.org
Nicholas of Myra.
Today as we celebrate The Feast of St. Nicholas, the saint of children and sailors I have thoughts and memories of children swirling through my head and heart.

I love children.
There is nothing  makes my heart happier than to see a smiling child.   Nothing can take me to my knees quicker than hearing of a child being mistreated or harmed.  St. Nicholas loved children.  He cared for all children; most of all, he aided those in need.

We need St. Nicholas today, perhaps more than any other time I can remember.
 I turn on the news, open the newspaper and there are stories of children being locked away, left to perish, or harmed in unspeakable ways.  It is often said "children are our future"  ...no, children are our now.

Though St. Nicholas Day was not a tradition in my home, my mother taught us the need to care for those in need.  Long before there were Angel Trees or red kettles my mother would find a family, through the school, to help out with Christmas.

I grew up in a small Louisiana town.  There was one department store, a dress shop, a gift shop,  two Five & Dimes, and a Sears catalogue store.  Each year, the week after Thanksgiving, Mother would take me to Sears to see Santa Claus.  I've told you, I was told there was no Santa Claus when I was very young, and though heartbroken, I've never stopped believing.  I will now admit, that man dressed in red, scared the beegeezies out of me.   I would leave the house feeling so brave, but the closer we got the more apprehensive I became.  By the time we walked through the door I was clenching my mother's arm and begging her to not make me talk to him.

With my heart beating outside my body, we took our place behind the line of children and moms stringing in and around the washers, refrigerators and lawnmowers.   As I squirmed and whined,  Mother would whisper encouragements; and, as we drew closer she would point out a child or two in the line,  explaining how a visit to Santa would probably be their only Christmas gift.  Some of you may think she was trying to guilt me into accepting a visit to Santa with gratitude.  No, she was setting up act two of our outing.

 Though I always had a long list to recite, it seems once I arrived before HIM I only managed to whimper out....a new baby doll please.   Talking to Santa was never as bad as I made up in my head, but I joyfully welcomed my mother's hand and our quick exit.

After the treat of going to a restaurant for lunch, it was time to fill Mother's wish list.  Her list was filled with children's names, needs and sizes.  We walked from store to store picking out a complete outfit for each child.  Mother selected the clothes, and left the toy buying to me.  Well...she would tell me how much I could spend and I, along with my friend and owner of my favorite dime store, selected one toy for each child.  I always suspected Mr. McGregor pitched in on the toys.

Once home and the gifts were wrapped our outing was never mentioned.
 I was told, after each trip, if I saw someone at school wearing anything we had purchased, I was to keep quiet.  Most years I never knew where, when, how or to whom Mother delivered her bounty.

Today, children visit Santa Claus at malls.  Department stores no longer hire the man in red.  He is an employee of a photography company.  The visit is no longer about the magic or the mystery.    It is about someone making money.  I've heard a visit with Santa this year is about $25.  He is now grouchy and impatient instead of jolly.  Crying children and those with special needs are being sent away.  And, once again those who are the least will be left out....I can only imagine the tear in the heart of St. Nicholas.   Maybe, today as we contemplate and celebrate the life of Nicholas of Myra we need to don our cloaks and take up the staffs and care for those who are in need.  We needn't look far.

Tomorrow we enter the second week of Advent, the week of preparation.  I can't think of a better way to prepare our hearts for Christmas than to give to others.

Hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one,
You'll be sure to know

Bobby wants a pair of skates,

Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book,
Yellow, blue, and red
Now I think I'll leave to you
What to give the rest
Choose for me, dear Santa Claus;
You will know the best.

Enjoy your weekend!