Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heaven and Nature Sing

The trees in the nearby woods are bare, branches reaching to the sky, leaves frozen to the ground by the light snow. A walk in the woods is infinitely better than a walk in the mall, especially in December. For the first time since we got our new puppy, I take the time to look for birds in the canopy. 

Raven (now almost 9 months old) is becoming a good trail dog and she waits patiently for me when I stop to look about. The first bird I see is a female Pileated Woodpecker, then a Red-bellied Woodpecker passes by with a loud call. Chickadees sing while feeding on pine cones and I see a White-breasted Nuthatch after hearing its nasal honk. A Brown Creeper, Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker bring my bird count to seven in one small section of the trail.

Heaven and nature sing on the eve of a long winter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here

We have a shelf full of "must see" Christmas movies and A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of them. So when I saw this tree on sale at our local hardware store, I had to get it for one of our daughters. I pasted some of the movie script about this poor little tree below.

What is your favourite Christmas movie? I don't think I could pick just one.


Lucy Van Pelt: Get the biggest aluminum tree you can find, Charlie Brown, maybe painted pink. 

Linus Van Pelt: [after Linus and Charlie Brown discover the little tree] Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?
Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.
Linus Van Pelt: I don't know, Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said? This doesn't seem to fit the modern spirit.
Charlie Brown: I don't care. We'll decorate it and it'll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me.
[picks up tree; a lot of needles fall off
[Charlie Brown and Linus return with the puny little tree]
Violet: Boy, are you stupid, Charlie Brown.
Patty: What kind of a tree is that?
Lucy Van Pelt: You were supposed to get a *good* tree. Can't you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?
Violet: I told you he'd goof it up. He isn't the kind you can depend on to do anything right.
Patty: You're hopeless, Charlie Brown.
Frieda: Completely hopeless
Charlie Brown: [upset] Rats!
Lucy Van Pelt: You've been dumb before, Charlie Brown, but this time, you really did it.
[pause; then everyone bursts out laughing]
Lucy Van Pelt: [laughing] What a tree!

Linus Van Pelt: I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.
[Charlie Brown hangs an ornament on the tree; it bends over]
Charlie Brown: I've killed it. Oh! Everything I touch gets ruined.

Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about.
[shouting in desperation]
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]

Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hush, not Rush

The Becka surprised me with this Advent wreath last week and we lit the first candle as we ate a simple soup supper together. Yesterday was the first year anniversary of the death of our good friend Jim and the grey, rainy day matched the sorrowful memory of his untimely passing. The Advent reading included the passage from Revelation 21 which says,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

I have happy, much anticipated events planned for the next month yet I want to feel the hush, not the rush of the season. I want to recognize God as he dwells among mankind knowing that I may find him in the least expected places.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent One

My favourite seasonal card

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and the Christmas season is already in full swing. The wait for Christmas Day is endless for a child but for adults it sometimes means an over-full calendar, last minute rushing around and resentful obligation. I keep this old Christmas card with its peaceful winter scene and retreat there in my mind when I feel overwhelmed by the excesses of the season.

I enjoy the cultural aspects of the winter holiday season, the legends, decorations, feasting, and entertainment. I don’t care if people say Happy Holidays, Yule, Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa. But as a Christian who celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, I also look for ways to make the season more meaningful spiritually.

As I get older I appreciate the extremes of emotion brought on by our society’s high expectations at this time of year.

Joy and sorrow
Companionship and loneliness
Abundance and poverty
Hope and despair
Health and illness
Good memories and regrets
Contentment and depression
Peace and disharmony
Blessing and obligation
Faith and cynicism

Christmas 2011 will be different for our family this year as people move about and family dynamics change. Change can be good. I plan to post often this season;- a picture, a story, a thought, as I look for something special to celebrate each and every day.

When (Jesus) came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home,
he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.
The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him.
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,
 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down.
All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.  Then he began to speak to them.
“The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Luke 4:16-21 (NLT)

Friday, November 11, 2011


I woke up this morning to see the first light dusting of snow this season. It is time to put away the gardening tools, do a final clean up of the yard and put up the bird feeders.

Five months of winter weather starting...

My old Christmas Cactus plant is bursting with blooms, cheering the room when the sun sets by 5 PM.

The days continue to shorten...

Our elderly war veterans who are in hospital will do their best to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in their wheelchairs, rising from their beds to honour those who fought for our freedom. I am honoured to help them.

I will remember and give thanks for their sacrifice...