Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chapter II: Twelvetide - Childermas

Today is the Commemoration of the Murder of the Holy Innocents as told in Matthew 2:
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men. Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
     lamentation, weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
     she wouldn’t be comforted,
     because they are no more."

          -Matthew 2:16-18

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chapter II: Twelvetide - The First Day of Christmas

Today is the beginning of Christmastide and the First Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas (also known as Twelvetide or, in some traditions, Nativitytide). Christmastide will include Epiphanytide after the end of Twelvetide for a full 40-day celebration (so don't start putting away your Christmas tree and holiday decorations just yet!) and ends on 2 February.

To celebrate each of the Twelve Days, I've decided to reflect on some of my favourite Christmas carols. I have decided all twelve, so if you'd like to make a suggestion on what your favourite carol is, please let me know!

Chapter I: Advent - Christmas Eve

Tonight is the night of Christ's birth. Traditionally, it has been observed with a vigil, at least through midnight. It is a hopeful, celebratory time, comparable to the moments (or hours) of a waiting family while a new mommy is in labour. Indeed, that is an excellent comparison, for that is exactly what we commemorate on this eve.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chapter I: Advent - The O Antiphones: King of Nations

The Sixth of the Great O Antiphons

Chapter I: Advent – The Candle of Love

Today, the final anticipation Candle was lit in churches around the world: the Candle of Love. This Theme is not as quickly understandable in light of the Themes of waiting and yearning as those of Hope, Peace, and Joy. We contemporaries tend to think of love in terms of here-and-now. We make this error in two opposite extreme ways.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chapter I: Advent - The O Antiphones: Morning Star

The Fifth of the Great O Antiphons

Chapter I: Advent - Ember Day III: St. John the Baptizer's Preparation

[...T]he word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
      ‘Make ready the way of the Lord.
Make his paths straight.

     Every valley will be filled.
Every mountain and hill will be brought low.
      The crooked will become straight,
      and the rough ways smooth.

All flesh will see God’s salvation.’”
-Luke 3:2b-6

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chapter I: Advent - The O Antiphones: Key of David

The Fourth of the Great O Antiphons

Chapter I: Advent - Ember Day II: The Visitation

Today marks the second of the Winter Ember Days.

Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem!
    Praise your God, Zion!

He gives snow like wool,
    and scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can stand before his cold?

           -Psalm 147:12 & 16-17

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chapter I: Advent - The O Antiphones: Shoot of Jesse

The Third of the Great O Antiphons

Chapter I: Advent - Ember Day I: The Annunciation

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. -The Introit for the First Advent Ember Day (taken from Isaiah 45:8 & Psalm 18:2).
So begins the three day period of Winter Ember Days.