I was busy feed-reading when I noticed a brief post from Bob Hyatt which put a very odd notion in my head, right after his post on ecards for Lent. Now I haven’t really selected anything to give up for Lent, so perhaps I should ask Google. It knows all. So I Googled “what should [insert name here] give up for lent” and clicked on the first result. Maybe I should have just clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky.” (Go on, try it — just put your own name in the obvious place.) I came up with an article titled “Global Warming Evangelism: Give Up Carbon For Lent!” which says that several bishops in Britain are suggesting parishioners give up carbon for lent. Oh yes, it’s a Carbon Fast: An act with impact. It’s good that the church is thinking about going green, I figure.
…and wishing these to you today, with blueberries. As I mentioned on the weekend, today is the day when the Pancake Turtle brings pancakes to people all over the world.
This Pancake Day, help spread the legend of the Pancake Turtle with joy and maple syrup for all.
Today is the Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul, and I learned that this means we’re celebrating his turning 2,000. Or something of that sort — apparently it’s the 2000th anniversary of his birth. That’s a lot of candles on the cake, so at least part of the celebration will have to be more symbolic than literal. Besides, the issue of blowing out the candles may pose a problem. A quick search on Saint Paul turned up an odd bit of trivia though. Apparently in mediaeval times people believed the weather on St Paul’s feast day was a predictor of their fortune in the months ahead. They had a saying:
This will be the last Christmas carol for the season, and it seems almost odd that I’ve not already added today’s selection to the series, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is to me the carol that most proclaims Christmas, the most essential of carols for the season.
The carol comes from the Latin Adeste Fideles, a 1743 hymn by John Francis Wade for text which may date back to the 13th century. Wade was a British exile who moved to a Roman Catholic community in France, where he eked out an income by copying and selling music and giving music lessons to children. The English version, “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” was was translated more than a century later by Frederick Oakeley, a British clergyman who felt that his congregation would sing well if only they had good literary texts to sing. Perhaps this carol expresses some truth in his conviction, as it is generally a difficult one for a congregation not to sing with a little extra “oomph.” The original Latin lyrics follow at the end of the familiar English ones, for those who feel compelled to follow along in the original language.
The regulars around here will know that I mention pancakes from time to time, as in, “Daddy made pancakes for breakfast again!” People tell me “offline” that they really like my pancake posts — and I didn’t even realize I had any kind of theme going. But I’ve mentioned pancakes as a Sunday morning family activity, a theme which made my open letter to Stuart McLean. Not to mention the Shrove Tuesday tradition of the Pancake Turtle. In these and other posts, I’ve mentioned that I make pancakes for the kids, who are generally thrilled by the whole affair and have been known to issue special requests on a not entirely infrequent basis now. So considering all this and by no demand whatsoever, I’m going to offer my very own pancake recipe for general consumption.
Now that we are past Advent and into the Christmastide season, I can legitimately publish Christmas carols to the list in my series, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. In the church of that youth, the Christmas carols might carry on for a week or so after Christmas (depending how the calendar fell), but that would be it until December. I’m sure it was the same for many of us, who would begin the carols of Christmas again sometime early in the Advent season. This week I add a carol which it is unlikely that one can pass by a Christmas program without hearing: “Away in a Manger.”
This evening as my wife prepared to go back to work after the holiday, I remarked that this has been a better Christmas for us than last year. “The last two,” she replied. And it’s true. We were sitting in our new basement rec room, surveying the “media wall” I had built, with the new Wii plugged in to the home theatre, complete with brand-new KEF center channel speaker purchased at a Boxing Day sale this morning. We’re looking forward to family time in the space, which has been a lot of work. Just three weeks ago, it was a mess of bare walls, exposed 2×4 framed walls, and an assortment of boxes of excess miscellany overflowed from the storage room. There was more than one night in the last week that I worked until 3:00AM, and my wife got started at 6:00AM the following morning to sand or paint. We were both burning the candle at both ends, actually. We kept telling ourselves it would be worth it, and the end of the project was very satisfying.
The Advent wait is over, and Christmastide has come! May the peace of Christ be yours this season, and may you enjoy much rest and refreshment with those who gather around you. To mark the occasion, a classic Christmas message, courtesy of Charles & Linus.