This was the year we decided to introduce our kids to the hilarity of A Christmas Story. Our youngest fell asleep, and there were bits of explaining to do with our oldest so she’d get some of the jokes… the ones we wanted her to! ;^) It is of course the story of a childhood Christmas, but told from the perspective of an adult reflecting — and naturally that’s the only way it works. I thought about the late Darren McGavin’s portrayal of The Old Man in the movie. Let’s say he had, er, a crusty exterior. Not quite the model of an exemplary parent given the particular medium of his artistry. Yet there’s something soft about him, deep down. The story arc of the entire movie makes two things fairly clear. First, The Old Man and his sons are relationally distant, and you wonder in fact whether The Old Man knows or sees at all what’s going on with his boys, so easily distracted is he by the newspaper, sports conversations, puzzles, or “major awards.” Second, the unwavering focus on a certain Christmas present that was simply not going to happen, for fear of the loss of an eye.
I’ve been writing a fair bit on themes around a missional order since Seabeck. Anyone new to this blog might think I write on little else, but this is simply a current theme… we’ll be onto other matters soon enough, though this one is quite unlikely to be left behind entirely. I
talked a little bit about the daily office and its relation to liturgy already, but the whole subject of the daily office is one that I’ve been encouraged to write about a little more.
For those who are less familiar with the whole subject, there’s a fairly long-ish Wikipedia entry for Canonical Hours, and quoting from its introduction:
Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers.