Well that was quite a month! One minute I’m lounging in my red chair amidst flickering candles feeling the depth of luxurious contemplation (quite sure that this Christmas would finally be a restful one), and the next thing I know it is the 28th of December, with Christmas flown by in a typhoon of blustery days and I’m sitting here again with two feet of snow glaring in at the window and a soul that still hasn’t quite caught its breath. It was certainly a memorable Christmas season, beginning with a panicked trip to the ER with my mom for a kidney infection, the shootings, friends in crisis and a whirlwind five days of driving to Kentucky and back to be with Gwen for our traditional Christmas (the last half of which we drove at night, on Kansas plains, in a blizzard… fun!). I don’t know that I’ve ever had such an interesting holiday. One is enough.
And yet, as always, there was goodness in amidst the rush. We managed a peaceful Christmas Eve with our traditional Shepherd’s Meal (a peasant’s meal of potato soup, herb bread and cheese eaten in a house entirely darkened except for candlelight to put us in the same soulish mood as the shepherd’s for the reading of the Christmas story), and a pleasant Christmas day amidst family and one of my mom’s “adopted” sons. Since we are the Clarksons, we exchanged gifts mostly of books and music (with a few delightful exceptions such as perfume!) and spent the rest of our holiday pouring over our new treasures. The highlight however, was Joy’s big surprise present of a mini karaoke set. You should have seen us (heard is more like it) as we belted out our best broadway imitations!
I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in what seems an eternity. I have so appreciated your comments and prayers and am glad to be finally back as we enter the (hopefully) saner month of January. I’m eager to write, eager to delve into new books and thoughts. I have a stack of George MacDonald books by my bed of late (reviews coming soon), two gorgeous new art books on the Pre-Raphaelites and British countryside artists and a fascinating book on the education and nurture of children’s souls. I’ll be writing soon. For now, here is a hearty hello to you all. I hope you are enjoying these limbo days between Christmas and the brave new year. Peace to you all.
And as Galadriel would have it, Namarie!
Filed under Books, Musings
This poem seemed somehow fitting in light of yesterday.
Peace? and to all the world? sure, one
And he the prince of peace, hath none.
He travels to be born, and then
Is born to travel more again.
Poor Galilee! thou can’st not be
The place for his Nativity.
His restless mother’s call’d away,
And not deliver’d till she pay.
A Tax? ’tis so still! we can see
The Church thrive in her misery;
And like her head at Bethlehem, rise
When she oppressed with troubles, lies.
Rise? should all fall, we cannot be
In more extremities than He.
Great Type of passions! come what will,
Thy grief exceeds all copies still.
Thou cam’st from heaven to earth that we
Might go from earth to heaven with thee.
And though thou found’st no welcome here,
Thou did’st provide us mansions there.
A stable was they Court, and when
Men turned to beasts, beasts would be men.
They were thy courtiers, others non;
And their poor manger was thy throne.
No swadling silks they limbs did fold,
Though thou could’st turn thy rays to gold.
No rockers waited on thy birth,
No cradles stirred: nor songs of mirth;
But her chaste lap and sacred breast
Which lodged thee first, did give thee rest.
But stay: what light is that doth stream,
And drop here in a gilded beam?
It is thy Star runs page and brings
Thy tributary eastern kings.
Lord! grant some Light to us, that we
May with them find the way to thee.
Behold what mists eclipse the day:
How dark it is! shed down one ray
To guide us out of this sad night,
And say once more, Let there be Light.
– Henry Vaughan (1656)
The other three people shot were from the same family; a dad and his two daughters. Both of the girls have died. I can’t even imagine the pain in their hearts right now. Thank you all so much for praying!
If you have watched the news today, you have probably heard about the shootings at our church, New Life, here in Colorado Springs. We are all okay. We left the church just a few minutes before the gunman came. From what we understand, he entered through the cafeteria and went down the halls with an assault rifle. We have heard that four people were shot and have survived. I have heard that there might have been a teenager hit; I just found out that one of our good friends was shot as well. She was in the car with her husband and little girl and was shot through the window when the gunman came up to their car. She was the only one hit in the car and has a shoulder wound. She is at the hospital and is going to be okay. At such close range, with such a weapon, it is incredible that no one else was hurt or killed.
I just ask that you all would pray for us and for the church here. Please pray for our sweet friend who has served countless families in the church and for her daughter after having seen that happen to her mom and for the rest of the family. For the families who don’t yet know if their loved one will survive. Please pray for our pastor Brady who just moved here a couple of months ago and has barely even settled. And also for the YWAM base and families a little to the north of us, where two kids were killed. Lord be with us all, this is a hard day for a lot of people. God is present here; there is so much life and goodness at New Life, it is a place deeply committed to God, the people here are so full of His love. I am confident that the church will respond to this with grace and strength.
Immanuel, God with us, takes on a whole new meaning tonight.
Thanks for praying.
(I’m going to be posting a few of my favorite Christmas poems every Monday for the next several weeks. Some lyrical inspiration in the season of Advent, just for fun. Enjoy!)
Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty,
Lovelier than the world can show,
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.
Earth strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring,
Heaven hath answering music,
For all angels soon to sing.
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.