Thursday, December 17, 2015

Professor Carol on Advent

Music, Arts, History, and Western Culture
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Reclaiming Christmas

By Professor Carol on Dec 25, 2015 04:00 am
By the time you read this post, it may be December 26 or 27. Christmas, they say, is over.
They’re wrong. We’re still at the beginning of Christmas, despite what the commercial world says. Our modern culture has forgotten the actual parameters of the Christmas Season, namely the eve of December 24 to January 6.
Ordinarily, our December 25th post features one of my favorite choral pieces: J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.It’s a compendium of six half-hour long works designed for six specific services within the twelve-day Christmas season. The premise, of course, was that members of Bach’s congregation would be attending those services. And they looked forward to a new, topically appropriate composition at each.
If Bach were writing today, he’d have to squeeze hisChristmas Oratorio into sound bites. Perhaps two arias and a chorus for Christmas Eve and something shorter for Christmas Day. After that, well, maybe Bach could just stream the music to our iPhones.
Because the “post-Christmas” season has begun. Gotta get to bed early and up before dawn for those fabulous sales.
batteryHey, why wait until the 26th? Why not start the sales on Christmas Day? Our local Family Dollar Store out here in Bowie TX has a banner flapping in the wind: “Open on Christmas Day.” I couldn’t believe it.
But Christmas Day is the new catch for retailers. After all, retailers snagged Thanksgiving Day pretty easily, didn’t they? I asked inside the store: “Why are you opening on Christmas?” One employee sadly said, “Some people forget to buy batteries.”
Destroy the only haven left—the quietude of Christmas Day—so that a few people can buy batteries? Worse, employees have no choice, church services or families events not withstanding.
Didn’t we go through this with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? We cluck our tongues, thinking of how cruel that Mr. Scrooge was to force poor Bob Cratchit to slave on Christmas Eve. But we are returning to precisely that system.
Bob and Tim Cratchit
You can argue that people in the medical field and hotel/restaurant industry have always worked on Christmas Day. But that is a far cry from forcing the cash register lady to pre-cook her dinner, forego church, and race off to work by 10 a.m. All because people need batteries.
Let’s talk about those batteries. One of the greatest lessons of my life came in December 1981. I was studying in Leningrad, but had flown to Germany on the 23rd to celebrate Christmas. We went to the square the next morning about 11 a.m, ready to elbow ourselves into the crowd. To our astonishment, the stores were virtually empty. Most were closing at noon or hadn’t opened at all. There were no lines, no frantic pushes or pulls. People had . . . (ready for this?) . . . planned ahead and bought what they needed already.
Is that possible? Yes. And here’s why. Germans, and many Europeans, keep a traditional approach to Christmas. Bargains and “stuff” aren’t the focus. Plus, if a goose traditionally is prepared for First Christmas Day dinner and a venison roast for Second Christmas Day, one can think ahead and buy whatever traditional trimmings are needed, whether red cabbage or potato dumplings. It’s the same menu each year. The modest stash of presents within the family was wrapped long ago. People already have stocked up on milk and batteries. So what is left to worry over? Nothing.
I never forgot that lesson. It spurred a personal goal to change how I “do” Christmas. I pledged to decelerate it and try to reclaim the time frame known as The Twelve Days of Christmas. One part of this effort has been learning to celebrate Advent. An outgrowth of that has been our Advent Calendar. Thank you for letting me share these daily posts with you.
A second part is trying, at least, to stretch the joy of Christmas across its proper liturgical season: December 25 to January 6—the actual Twelve Days sung about in Carols. Give it a try. Don’t apologize for sending cards and gifts to arrive during the Twelve Days. Invite people for Christmas parties after the 25th: schedules will be less hectic and people will be able to enjoy themselves.
Most of all, find small things to treasure during those twelve days. Bake and give more cookies. Enjoy a leisurely game of Scrabble. Find Christmas displays that stay up until New Year’s (arboretums, zoos, fair grounds, even NASCAR race tracks). Do leave the tree up.
And for those of you who attend services, seek out extra ones. It could be Morning Prayer or Evensong. Maybe there’s a weekly service at the Salvation Army that you otherwise wouldn’t know about. Attend daily Mass, or listen at home to the topical readings that unfold the complete cycle of the Nativity story. Do whatever you can to remember that Christmas is aseason of rejoicing.
Aim for modest goals, and don’t be surprised if you find far more opportunities than you expect. Give yourself and your family the gift of a leisurely, lovely Christmas Season. No matter what the commercial world says. Merry Christmas (a long one), and Happy New Year!
The post Reclaiming Christmas appeared first onProfessor Carol.

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Advent Day 26: Christmas Pageants
Advent Day 25: Shepherds
Advent Day 24: Frankincense and Myrrh
Advent Day 23: Nativity Cradle Songs
Advent Day 22: St Joseph

Advent Day 26: Christmas Pageants

By Professor Carol on Dec 24, 2015 04:00 am
Die Jakobskirche in Weimar, R. Möhler (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Some people deride Christmas pageants, viewing them as a seasonal entertainment for overly sugared kids and exhausted parents. But the tradition is long and noble, dating arguably back to a live nativity scene staged by St. Francis in 1223.
Still, I never sensed the magnificence of Christmas pageants until my first occasion to see one in the small city of Weimar, Germany. It was Christmas Eve and the place was the Jakobskirche (Jacob Church), a small church near the ring-street that was the “moat” back in the days of knights and castles.
The church has a wonderful history. The cornerstone dates from the 1180s, while the interior is a delicate but simple Baroque wash. The poet Johann von Goethe was married in the Sacristy. J.S. Bach, who worked in Weimar, knew this church well. But to me, the most interesting part of its history came in 1806, when the nave became an infirmary during the bloody Battle of Jena in the Napoleonic Wars.
Scanning the balconies filled with excited families straining to see their costumed children below, I tried to imagine those same balconies more than 200 years earlier when German and French soldiers lay in agony. It was hard to envision. All around me was the magic of Christmas Eve, complete with the hush of snow. Yet, the modern children before me were likely speaking the same pageant lines as children back in Bach’s time. I was transfixed by one boy in a fleecy shepherd’s cloak, standing inches from the wall candles that illuminate the church. “Yikes,” I thought, “how many centuries have nine-year olds stood on this same spot, oblivious of the blaze behind their heads?”
But isn’t that the power of tradition? We repeat the same acts of devotion perfected by our forefathers. We recite the same lines and sew the same costumes. And by passing this long chain of tradition to our children, we knit our families to those who came before us. And we equip our children to take our faith more strongly into the future.

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Advent Day 25: Shepherds
Advent Day 24: Frankincense and Myrrh
Advent Day 23: Nativity Cradle Songs
Advent Day 22: St Joseph
Advent Day 21: Tinsel
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Happy Holidays from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

Dear Casady Families,
From all of us at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, and on behalf of those we serve, Happy Holidays and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!  Your belief in our mission has providedHOPE to thousands of our neighbors who struggle with hunger. Because you care, together we truly make a lasting impact on the lives of our fellow Oklahomans.
With great thanks and best wishes this season and in 2016!
Laura Lang
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

One extra way you can fight hunger during the holidays:
When shopping online, sign in to, and designate the Regional Food Bank as your charity of choice. We’ll receive a donation every time you make a purchase!  

Laura Lang, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

Stories of Hope:
"We had a student who was very stressed about having to be a breadwinner for the family. She worked a lot of hours while trying to study for semester exams.  By our school pantry being able to provide food to her, she was able to cut back her hours at work some and that, in turn, had more time to study time for classes.  This 16 year old was almost in tears when she was offered help for her large family."

~Harrah High School

Advent Day 19: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

By Professor Carol on Dec 17, 2015 04:00 am
The Poissy Antiphonal – 1335-1345
A friend sent me a card, saying he hoped O Come, O Come Emmanuel would be a topic for one of the remaining days of the Advent Calendar. This song, for him, evoked special memories of childhood.
That set me to thinking. It’s certainly not the first Christmas Carol most children learn. In fact [flash!], it isn’t a Christmas Carol at all. It’s a 100% Advent hymn whose text lays out a complete statement of the Advent narrative in progressive verses. Depending on which hymnal you use, you’ll even find the appropriate dates between December 17 and December 23 tagged to each verse.
As we know, our popular culture isn’t well-tuned to Advent, so in modern times, O Come, O Come Emmanuel is perceived as a Christmas Carol, and one of the most deeply moving!
The hymn is known popularly by its opening words: Veni, veni Emmanuel. Veni, in fact, is the imperative, or command, form of the Latin verb “to come” (venire). Yes, it’s the same verb that stands at the root of “Advent.” The beguiling melody is an old plainsong or chant. That’s what gives it the antique flavor to our modern ears.
But the real story of O Come, O Come Emmanuel lies in the text. The words are old, maybe as old as the 8th century. And they are actually a collection of words – sets of sentences that were read or sung before the reading of something else. This kind of added-in “pre-text” was called an antiphon (anti+phon).
I smile when I remember struggling to understand the word “antiphon” in my first college music history class. I’m sure I got it wrong on the test! But once I attended a service where the entire liturgy was chanted, rather than read, it all made perfect sense. Our understanding changes, doesn’t it, when we realize that an “ancient form” in church tradition was once a brand new way of worshipping God.
Each of the seven verses in O Come, O Come Emmanuelbegins with the exclamation “O,” so they are known as the “O Antiphons.” Even more wonderfully, the antiphons present the prophetic names for Christ taken from the Book of Isaiah.
Dec. 17O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
Dec. 18O Adonai (Hebrew name for God, usually translated “Lord”)
Dec. 19O Radix Jesse (O Wheel of Jesse)      
Dec. 20O Clavis David (O Key of David)
Dec. 21O Oriens (O Light of the East)
Dec. 22O Rex Gentiem (O King of the Gentiles)
Dec. 23O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)
There’s one more surprise: the first letters of those prophetic names in Latin make an acronym: SARCORE. If you read that SARCORE backwards, you get ero cras. And that, in Latin, means “Tomorrow I come” or “Tomorrow I shall be.” Well, there you have it!
The credit for turning all of this into a hymn goes to John Mason Neale (1818-1866) an English minister and translator who was particularly devoted to traditional texts from Latin, Greek, and German. His scholarly interests mirrored an interest in old church music that blossomed in the 19th century. You might say that “retro” was in!
But it took a lot of work for someone like Neale to dig these things out, make translations, and find an appropriate way to harmonize the ancient tunes. Today, we can click to find ancient manuscripts pop right up on our computers, and click again to hear dozens of beautiful performances of the old tunes right on YouTube. Can you imagine what Neal would say to find O Come O Come Emmanuel spread across the Internet? I think he’d be pleased.
Enjoy these tender and worshipful renditions of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Unable to load thumbnail for YouTube Video Id: Yv927QNtz78. Please make sure they exist and try again later. #404

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Advent Day 18: Donkeys
Advent Day 17: Holly & Ivy
Advent Day 16: Heirlooms
Advent Day 15: Gaudete
Advent Day 14: Pilgrimage

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Professor Carol and Advent: Donkey's

Advent Day 18: Donkeys

By Professor Carol on Dec 16, 2015 04:00 am
KATH (CC BY 2.0)
My daughter Helen long wanted to get a donkey. For whatever reason, it was the animal that most touched her heart (after cats). Donkeys out where we live are working animals, used in pastures to protect small livestock. Donkey’s don’t like coyotes and are extremely good at running them off. They also keep lonely animals company, if a pasture has just one horse or goat, for example.
Donkeys are cheap to obtain (free often) and known for low maintenance. They can eat low-grade hay in the winter. And they usually have a good temperament, although their legendary stubbornness can be coupled with a mean streak too. That’s useful in guarding livestock, but not so pleasant for the owner.
In the Bible, donkeys are mentioned more often than any other animal. They are one of the earliest to appear in the Scriptures and they figure as key players or backdrops in stories of importance, both within Judaism and Christianity. But it’s no wonder, as they’ve been recorded within civilization for longer than 5000 years as primary beasts of burden.
Donkeys symbolize industry, peace, and modest affluence. Industry, of course, because they carry burdens (although not as many as the more powerful oxen). Peace because they rarely figure into an army’s actual battle strategy (it’s hard to fight on a donkey). And wealth? Well, a modest wealth at best, since donkeys have never been a high-dollar animal.
Contrast that with the horse. High-dollar creatures, horses express mighty qualities in paintings, sculpture, poetry and song. Horses are symbols of war, wealth, and power. Yet, if you’ve cared for both equines, you know that horses are harder to keep healthy than the lowly donkey.
Lowly. That’s the word we often hear associated with both cattle and donkeys, particularly when we think of nativity scenes. Think how often you see a diminutive donkey modestly intruding its head to gaze upon the Christ Child. But the donkey, per se, is not mentioned in any of the Gospel narratives of Christ’s birth, although what stable in a town bustling with activity during the tax season would have been without them?
The earliest account of a donkey at Christ’s manger comes from a document in 1415, where, in a live nativity scene, Jesus is described as lying between an ass and an ox.
Ass, of course, is the biblical term for a male donkey. (Today, the she-ass is generally called a Jenny). The English name donkey itself doesn’t appear until around 1785 and may refer to its dull grey-brown color. The word “monkey” may have affected the name, while other etymology relates the name to “Duncan” or to the Spanish name “Don.”
The critical role played by our Biblical donkeys would be symbolic, uniting prophecy from the Old Testament with Christ’s triumphant ride into Jerusalem, in anticipation of his Crucifixion. Donkeys are also one of only two animals able to speak in the Bible (Numbers 22), the serpent being the other.
But none of this persuaded us to get Helen a donkey—at least, not at the time. We had goats, horses, cows, cats, and way too many dogs in those years. Now she’s grown, with two children of her own. And, as you might guess, she says that one day, she wants us to get them a donkey. I hope we can since the symbolism of the donkey has come to speak to me in a much stronger way. We just have to find one with an even temper!
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Advent Day 17: Holly & Ivy
Advent Day 16: Heirlooms
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Professor Carol and New Land Academy hosted by Art Club and Spanish I Class

New Land Academy hosted by Art Club Holiday Stockings Project

11:30  New LAND Academy students picked-up by Casady bus at 1021 NW 37th Crown Heights Methodist Church. Bus driver Jay Gallegly (cell 405-255-0136).  Contact person at New Land Academy:  Misty: 405-471-1082

11:45  New LAND Academy meets Mrs. Clay Spanish (cell: 405-520-1325) I class at Harper Wing.  
Learn about each other, Posadas and Holiday songs in Spanish

12:16: Walk to lunch at Calvert.  Tables for New Land Academy reserved at Calvert (22 students, 3 teachers)

Thank you e-mail from Mrs. Clay

Dear New Land Academy students and faculty,

Thank you for spending time with my Spanish I class. 

We had a few minutes to share what they learned and I wanted to let you know that my students thanked me profusely for the opportunity to share time with your students.  

Spanish I Cyclones loved the New Land Academy students interest in their daily routine.  They were also amazed about the English skills displayed by the majority of the New Land Academy students, even the ones who recently arrived in the USA.  

My students spoke about the similarities in sports, musical instruments, types of songs and some dreams like becoming engineers or acrobats - they mentioned the sport, but I cannot recall the name.

They were also amazed about the number of languages some of the students speak.  I heard that there is a possible Arabic language instructor in New Land Academy.

I am attaching a picture of my students taken during Halloween.   I am also attaching the PP we are working with​ this month.  Slides 39-45 might be of interest.

I will share my Mind Body and Spirit tile with my students tomorrow.  Please visit for memories of our time together.

Happy Holidays! 

12:55 -1:41  New LAND Academy students with Art Club @ Records, Mrs. Pardue's classroom

1:50  New LAND Academy students board Casady bus from Chapel parking lot to return to 1021 NW 37th Crown Heights Methodist Church
Learn about Students Rebuild Healing Classrooms: Pinwheels for Syrian Refugees

Spanish I Welcomed  New Land Academy
Shared Las Posadas and Villancicos
Learned about each other's schools, preferences, dreams for the future 
STUCO and Coach T. provided Walk-A-Thon 2015 T-shirts for students and their teachers.  YAC provided the experience of Paneton with hot chocolate for their last day of school in 2015, which will be tomorrow- the first day of Las Posadas in Mexico.

Sage Dinning provided lunch for New Land Academy.  Some Spanish I students helped teach about our family style.  Some New Land Academy students experienced being Number 1 and Number 2 waiters.  They learned about our Family style dinning exponentially. 

After lunch, Art Club played "Pictionary" and gave Xmas stockings, which they had made  and decorated for every member of the school.  The stockings were filled with favorite Cyclone candies and writing utensils.

After playing Pictionary, the students from New Land gave thank you tiles, MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT in all the languages represented in their school

 To end in a holiday spirit, the art club taught how to make snowflakes and Service-Learning demonstrated how to make Pinwheels for Peace

From New Land Academy

 We had such a wonderful time getting to know your students and learning more about Casady.  You have a true gift for hospitality and for showing love to others.

Thank you for the power point.  WE will enjoy going through it.

Also, we appreciate the connection with Kevin and we are super excited about our new NLA/CASADY connection.

Hoping you have a Merry Christmas!

Music, Arts, History, and Western Culture
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Advent Day 17: Holly & Ivy

By Professor Carol on Dec 15, 2015 04:00 am
Bombarded by the vivid colors of our modern society (starting with images on computer screens), we easily lose our sense of nature’s colors. Advent gives us a chance to appreciate the beauty of the winterscape and to enjoy one of winter’s most enticing colors: the evergreen.
Holly Berries, Colin Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Holly Berries, Colin Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0)
In particular, let’s consider two evergreens linked with Christmas: holly and ivy. We link them because of the song “The Holly and the Ivy.” But their relationship goes back even further.
Holly is in a category of evergreens that includes live oak and gymnosperms. These types are differentiated from conifers (hemlocks, cedars) and angiosperms, like eucalyptus.
Holly is perhaps the most famous evergreen associated with Christmas, but legends and myths about its powers stretch back thousands of years, especially in Celtic culture where holly was linked to druid worship. Because of those associations, the early church fathers were reluctant to accept holly into the church as a decoration (a fate that also affected the Christmas tree).
Holly (Ilex) is a genus of more than 400 flowering plants in the family aquifoliaceae. And while we know it mostly through sprigs woven into wreaths and placed around candles, it can grow into quite a large tree. Holly adapts to most soils and is a favorite of landscapers because it trims nicely into hedges. And that’s usually where most children encounter its prickly leaves! I know I did as a child in the Virginia mountains: it looked so pretty until, ouch, those thorns met my hands.
In Medieval and Renaissance times, holly was used as winter forage for livestock. Holly berries soften after winter freezes and become an important source of winter food for birds. Due to its thick foliage, holly provides a good refuge for birds. Certain types of holly can be brewed for tea.
The wood of holly is dense and can be sanded to a smooth finish. Holly was a preferred wood for the spinning rod of the spinning wheel, as the threads would not catch. So, we have a plant for all purposes. And that partly explains the affection people have for it.
What about holly within Christian tradition? First, the holly’s evergreen leaves have come to symbolize life eternal, while the berries stand for Christ’s blood. Those prickly leaves recall the Crown of Thorns. Plus, there are legends that Christ’s cross was made of wood from holly. Another legend tells how holly sprang up miraculously to hide the Holy Family as it fled King Herod.
Now, let’s think about ivy. Ivy is more straight-forward. It’s classified as a woody vine. Without question, English Ivy (hedera helix) is the most popular and among the sturdiest variants. It is an impressive climber, scaling up walls to towering heights. As desirable as it is in some landscaping situations, it’s considered an “invasive plant,” able to grow out of control and engulf areas, killing plants beneath it.
In Classical mythology, ivy was a sacred symbol to Bacchus, so you can see why, as with the Christmas tree, the early Church Fathers resisted its inclusion into patterns of Christian worship.
Children are bound to ask if “Christmas” ivy is related to poison ivy. Poison ivy is deciduous, and loses its leaves in winter. The ivy of Christmastime is an evergreen. So, phew, it’s not like that poison ivy we strive to avoid!
Let’s return to the popular song “The Holly and the Ivy.” The text was collected by English ethnographer Cecil Sharpe (1857-1924). He spent decades collecting and publishing folklore that stretched back to Medieval times. The jaunty, four-part arrangement we often hear sung was created by Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941).
We commonly perceive “The Holly and the Ivy” as a sweet Christmas text, especially with lines like these:
The holly bears a blossom as white as lily flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to be our sweet Savior.
But, in fact, the relationship – indeed, the rivalry – of holly and ivy reaches beyond that. Holly and ivy vied to “rule the forest” in ancient European folklore. Medieval games and ceremonies pitted holly, viewed as masculine, in contests with ivy, seen as feminine. And so, holly-and-ivy songs and poems frequently concern the male/female dynamic.
Depending on the text, holly would usually win the competition, but not always. In an old text called “Ivy, Chief of Trees She Is,” ivy comes out quite well:
Ivy is soft, and meek of speech,
Against all woe she bringeth bliss;
Happy is he that may her reach:
Veni coronaberis*
Prickly, thorny, invasive, engulfing, and filled with layers of meaning – all of this plant business is sounding a bit ominous. And, yet, over time, holly and ivy have become standard symbols of Christmas. We may scratch our heads at our ancestors’ curious beliefs, but what would they say if they walked into a hobby store and saw rows upon rows of plastic holly and ivy? They’d definitely scratch their heads at that!
* “Come, I will crown.”

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Advent Day 16: Heirlooms
Advent Day 15: Gaudete
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Professor Carol on Advent

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Advent Day 16: Heirlooms

By Professor Carol on Dec 14, 2015 04:00 am
SidewaysSarah (CC BY 2.0)
Such a pretty word, isn’t it? It came into use in the early 15th century, in the form of ayre lome meaning primarily “implement or tool.” As with so much language, the origin of the word reminds us of a time when a good shovel or axe made a real difference in survival. If cared for properly, these things could be passed down.
But today we are more likely to pass down other things. Moms pass jewelry to their daughters. Grandmas pass down china and precious collectibles like Hummel or Lladro figurines. Granddads often give their sons watches, military medals, or odd collectibles from their own fathers.
Of course, not every heirloom is welcomed by the younger generation. Countless sets of silver and china sit in thrift stores because they don’t match the “lifestyles” of today’s modern gal. Plus, an heirloom implies responsibility for the weight of its history. It needs to be cared for, dusted, polished, preserved. And, ideally, passed on. Not everyone is in a position to accept or do that.
So it’s good to remember that “heirlooms” don’t have to be physical items. Of greatest import are spiritual heirlooms: the concepts we were taught as children, poems our parents read to us, proverbs repeated by aunts and grannies.
Especially at this season, we are storing up spiritual heirlooms for our children. For example, the minutes spent around the dining-room table lighting the Advent wreath is a distinct heirloom. (And by the way, it’s never too late to start. Just light three candles this coming Sunday.) Every time we turn away from the bustle of commercial Christmas and opt for a walk in the park, a quiet cuddle with the kids, or a few blissful moments for ourselves to watch a sunset or read something inspirational—these are spiritual gifts. They are “heirloom moments.” They teach a message and values that matter.
Then there are “heirloom experiences”: things we do that teach lessons to pass down. A prime example would be doing things for others. Not buying and giving, but doing! These are things a child never forgets.
My mother made a lot of custard to take to “shut-ins.” Her custard kitchen was particularly busy in December. At the time, I didn’t understand why these fragrant little bowls blessed others, but I do today. I still hear her voice telling me to go make custard (or soup), and take it to people whom it will bless. It’s one of my main spiritual heirlooms from her.
If we’re fortunate, we inherit another kid of spiritual heirloom in the form of scriptural passages. These are words that our parents, grandparents, and others dear to us bequeath. My own mother’s favorite Psalm 91. She also taught me to love the words:
May the Lord bless you and keep you,May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,and be gracious to you.May the Lord lift up his countenance upon youand give you peace.
A child may not understand all that this means, but the sound of such words will remain forever in his heart.
Rather than decry the things we cannot have or “get done” in the pre-Christmas weeks, let’s try to treasure the things we can do and enjoy in Advent—both the physical heirlooms that grace our home and the small gestures that comfort and bless others. These will be the spiritual heirlooms for our children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors. No heirloom is too small, and each is precious.
The post Advent Day 16: Heirlooms appeared first onProfessor Carol.

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Advent Day 15: Gaudete
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Sunday, December 13, 2015

In two Days, The Mexican Posadas Begin,! Advent with Professor Carol and Sweet memories from PD-LD ICS Drive

YAC helps at Urban Mission Santa's House

Posadas Navideñas - The Other Side of The Tortilla from Maura Hernandez on Vimeo.
A gift from Amy Cuddy
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Advent Day 15: Gaudete

By Professor Carol on Dec 13, 2015 04:00 am
Gaudete in the original version of the Piae Cantiones 1582
Gaudete! Rejoice!
“Rejoice in the Lord always!” That’s the watchword for this Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday. The festive name comes directly from a passage of Phillipians 4:4.
Gaudete in Domino semper iterum dico gaudete.
Rejoice in the Lord. Always I say to you rejoice!
“Gaudete” is actually the imperative form of the verb gaudere – to rejoice. So the text commands us to rejoice. Why does anyone need to be commanded to rejoice?
Because we are in the middle of a penitential season: Advent. By the time this third Sunday in Advent rolls around, faithful Christians in historical times would be eager to hear that command. They had reached the mid-point of a fasting season. Surrounded by sugar cookies and peppermint, we moderns may forget that Advent was, and remains, a penitential season. A season for prayer and fasting. Like Lent? Yes, like Lent.
In fact, if you are an Eastern Christian (Russian, Greek, Ethiopian, Antiochian Orthodox, etc.), then Advent is observed by 40 days of prayer and fasting, rather than the 22 to 28 days observed in the West. But even in the strictest Fasting Seasons, Sundays are the Lord’s Day, and therefore always a day of celebration. Dietary rules were relaxed, and all were called to rejoice.
So today it’s time to light the third candle – the rose-colored one on your Advent Wreath. Not a main liturgical color, rose is called a “subsidiary” color and it always signifies rejoicing.
And take note: the mother of the family traditionally does the lighting of the candles on Gaudete Sunday.
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
One more thing. From a musical standpoint, the word gaudete has a swingy rhythm to it (gaw-de-tay). Not surprisingly, songs that set this text tend to be energetic. One of my favorite settings is a modern arrangement (1986) of an old chant made by Brian Kay for the wonderful English vocal ensemble, The King’s Singers. We sing this version for our own Lessons and Carols service here in Bowie, Texas and we never get tired of practicing it. That arrangement is sung here rather impressively by a high-school choir.
You’ll find colorful versions of the carol Gaudete on YouTube: everything from children’s choirs to boisterous renditions accompanied by tambourines, finger cymbals, and drums. You might like this one:
Maybe your children can come up with their own musical settings of that wonderful Philippians text. Just crank up the spirit and Gaudete in Domino!
The post Advent Day 15: Gaudete appeared first on Professor Carol.

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