Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Picture-Books in Winter

Jessie Willcox Smith

Summer fading, winter comes -

Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs

Window robins, winter rooks,

And the picture story-books.

-from Picture-Books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Christmas festivities are winding down, and like furry woodland animals, we are inclined to settle down in our warm nests and stick close to home for a while. We said goodbye to our less hardy friends during the golden months of autumn, but we are of sturdy New England stock like the cardinals and bluejays who gladden the bleak days of winter with their bright colors: most likely the only ones we will see until the daffodils show their faces in April. Today was a bitterly cold blustery day, just right for curling up in a warm chimney corner with a cozy story:

Monday, December 28, 2009


scene from my kitchen window looking toward the barn
It has been a grey and gloomy day, skies overcast since early morning. Just now it has begun to snow.....huge, soft, feathery flakes. The backyard is a picture of serenity as the trees lift their bare brown arms to collect the bounty of the skies.
Looking out through the kitchen window, I feel God's peace steal into my soul. The new year waits ahead in the shadows, yet though it beckons temptingly with its plans and possibilities, I gaze upon the white landscape and pull the cloak of here and now a bit more snugly around myself, content to tarry in today.
Snow at Louveciennes - Alfred Sisley 1875

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Come Let Us Adore Him

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood,
shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-20

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All My Heart This Night Rejoices!


All my heart this night rejoices
As I hear
Far and near
Sweetest angel voices,
"Christ is born," their choirs are singing
Till the air
Now with joy is ringing.
Forth today the Conqueror goeth,
Who the foe,
Sin and woe,
Death and hell, o'erthroweth.
God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son
Now is one
With our blood forever.
Shall we still dread God's displeasure,
Who, to save,
Freely gave
His most cherished Treasure?
To redeem us, he hath given
His own Son
From the throne
Of his might in heaven.
He becomes the Lamb that taketh
Sin away
And for aye
For our life his own he tenders;
And our race,
By his grace,
Meet for glory renders.
Hark! A voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet,
Doth entreat:
"Flee from woe and danger.
Brethren, from all ills that grieve you,
You are freed;
All you need
I will surely give you.
Come, then, let us hasten yonder;
Here let all,
Great and small,
Kneel in awe and wonder.
Love him who with love is yearning;
Hail the star
That from far,
Bright with hope is burning.
Dearest Lord, thee will I cherish.
Though my breath
Fail in death,
Yet I shall not perish,
But with thee abide forever
There on high,
In that joy
Which can vanish never.
Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)
Translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giveaway at Remembrance Press

Ladies, here is your chance to enter for a shopping spree at Remembrance Press, publishers of the beautiful magazine, The Girlhood Home Companion. Follow the link below:

Remembrance Press giveaway

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Lovely Shines the Morning Star!

How lovely shines the Morning Star!

The nations see and hail afar

The light in Judah shining.

Thou David's son of Jacob's race,

My bridegroom and my King of grace,

For thee my heart is pining.

Lowly, holy

Great and glorious,

Thou victorious

Prince of graces,

Filling all the heav'nly places.

Now richly to my waiting heart,

O thou, my God, deign to Impart

The grace of love undying.

In thy blest body let me be,

E'en as the branch is in the tree,

Thy life my life supplying.

Sighing, crying,

For the savor

Of thy favor;

Resting never

Till I rest in thee forever.

Thou, mighty Father, in thy Son

Didst love me ere thou hadst begun

This ancient world's foundation.

Thy Son hath made a friend of me,

And when in spirit him I see,

I joy in tribulation.

What bliss is this!

He that liveth

To me giveth

Life forever,

Nothing me from him can sever.
Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Fulfillment of Our Desire

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap
His hair was like a light
O weary, weary were the world
But here is all aright
The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star
O stern and cunning are the Kings
But here the true hearts are
The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart
His hair was like a fire
O weary, weary is the world
But here the world's desire
The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee
His hair was like a crown
And all the flowers looked up at him
And all the stars looked down
---- G.K. Chesterton
I've tried to find this online without success but if you can locate the CD called "Hark, How the Bells" on Amazon, you will find this listed as "Christ Child Carol" performed by the UCLA Madrigal Singers. It is truly a beautiful piece of music.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Who Is He?

Infinite, and an infant.
Eternal, and yet born of a woman.
Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman's breast.
Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother's arms.
King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph.
Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter's despised son.
---- C.H. Spurgeon

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Gift

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15
This is how God showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world
that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.
Our God, Heav'n cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heav'n and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.
Enough for him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, -
Yet what can I give him,
Give my heart.
--- Words: Christina Rossetti (1830-94)
Music: Harold Darke (1888-1976)

Friday, December 04, 2009

What love is this?

In dulci jubilo
Let us our homage shew;
Our heart's joy reclineth
In praesepio
And like a bright star shineth
Matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O!
Alpha es et O!
O Jesu parvule
I yearn for thee alway!
Hear me, I beseech thee,
O Puer optime!
My prayer let it reach thee,
O Princeps gloriae!
Trahe me post te!
Trahe me post te!
O Nati lenitas!
Deeply we were stained
Per nostra crimina;
But thou has for us gained
Coelorum gaudia.
O that we were there!
O that we were there!
Ubi sunt gaudia,
If that they be not there?
There are angels singing
Nova cantica,
And there the bells are ringing
In Regis curia:
O that we were there!
O that we were there!
14th Century German carol,
translated and arranged by R.L. Pearsall (1795-1856)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

He comes......

O Sovereign God!
You have humbled yourself in order to exalt us.
You became poor so that we might become rich.
You came to us so that we can come to you.
You took upon yourself our humanity in order
to raise us up into eternal life.
All this comes through your grace,
free and unmerited,
all this through your beloved Son,
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
---- Karl Barth