Come, O come

blogIMG_6646On this quiet and still Christmas Eve, this is what my heart longs for – the coming of Emmanuel – and this is what I am listening to.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave.

O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode.

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace.

(Translated from Latin to English by John Mason Neale)

For your listening pleasure, click on the video below for a moving instrumental version of this song.

Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a Child is born, for unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

“Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.” ~ Richard Crashaw

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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What is Christmas

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It’s Christmas Eve.

Not a creature is stirring not even a mouse.

Those stockings are hung on the fireplace.

The brightly-lit and adorned Christmas tree waits quietly and patiently for gaily wrapped packages to appear beneath its boughs.

Freshly baked cookies perch on a special plate while a mug of milk sits nearby for Santa’s visit and, not to be forgotten, a carrot for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

It’s Christmas Eve.

The house is ablaze with lights and Christmas finery everywhere.

A basket of happy Christmas tidings in the form of greeting cards from family and friends rests on an end table right next to the snowman decoration.

The sweet music of Christmas carols rings through the house as all gather back home.

And after a sumptuous dinner, Mama in her kerchief and Papa in his cap settle down for a well-deserved winter’s nap.

The house becomes silent while visions of sugarplums and fluffy white snow dance in grand-baby’s head.

It’s Christmas Eve.

But all of these things are not what Christmas truly means.

What is Christmas if we don’t remember the reason why we celebrate it?

What is Christmas? The answer is found wrapped in a manger.  (Click on the following link.)

This is Christmas

 

It’s Christmas Eve.  

And at midnight, we welcome in the day named after our Savior.

THIS is Christmas.

“Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeer, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.”  ~Ronald Reagan 

©2016 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Just another silent night

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Ring around the moon – photo credit: Randy Miller

Just another silent night.

Darkness descended its cloaking curtain over the land.  All that seemed to shine across the landscape were the twinkling of Christmas lights gracing the outlines of homes and trees.

Just another silent night.

The roadway was fairly deserted with almost everyone already having arrived at their destination or tucked away in their beds for that long winter’s nap until the arrival of morning when revelry would begin again.

Just another silent night.

Strapped into our car seat belts, we all seemed in a daze from too much dinner and sweets and a day chock full of activity.  Perhaps there were visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads, but I think not.

Just another silent night.

Baby, confined in her car seat and dressed in her jammies yet wide awake, proved quiet as well as we drove along without noise.

Just another silent night.

We pulled our vehicles into the parking lot and climbed out one by one and even our tones were hushed.  It was, after all, late at night.  Almost eleven p.m.

Just another silent night.

When suddenly, one of us spoke in an excited voice.  “Look! Look at the moon!”

We all craned our necks searching the darkened sky for that orb of light displayed on that silent of nights.

And the sight we witnessed brought “oohs” and “ahhs” as we observed the almost full moon with a large and distinct halo of light encircling it.

Just another silent night.

No, this wasn’t just another silent night.  There was something different in the air, even though it wasn’t the crisp, cold weather we are accustomed to.  This was a different night.

This was a night when we witnessed an unusual phenomena – that ring around the moon.

This was a night when we put all other activities and bedtime aside to make our way to our little country church.

This was a night when our family, all of us together for just a short time, traditionally attend a candlelight service from 11 p.m. to midnight.

This was no ordinary silent night.

This was THE silent night. The night we celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to this earth as a wee baby.  The night we hear the Good News read from the Bible.  The night we raise our voices in song singing “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

This was the night when we light the white Christ candle in the Advent wreath – the candle which provides light to each individual candle throughout the church building.

Yes, this was the night.

This was our silent night. 

As the clock hands turned to 12 o’clock, the old church bell pealed out through the silent night in joyful noise welcoming Christmas day.  With faces glowing from candlelight, we lifted praise and prayer to the Lord while singing that holy hymn – “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”

The silent, holy night when even the moon displayed splendor.

This was not just another silent night.

This was Christmas Eve.

“Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light…”  ~ Joseph Mohr

 

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

I’ll be memed for Christmas

blogDSCN8295Christmas Eve will find me…reading my friends’ blogs on my laptop.

Yep, I’m sitting here on Page 24, Chapter 12, in my Opportunity book in my easy chair (resting my hip) with my feet propped up on the matching ottoman and I’m waiting for the Christmas Eve festivities to commence at our house.

Two blogging friends, Dianna at These Days of Mine, and Georgette at Georgette Sullin’s Blog have posted a Christmas meme and invited their readers to join them.   A meme, in the blogging world, is a topic that spreads from one blogger to another.

After reading their posts, I thought it might be fun be “memed.”  (If there is such a word?)  So read on for my answers to the Christmas meme questions.

1. What is a Christmas song you can listen to even in June?   It’s hard to narrow down the field here because honestly, I could listen to almost any Christmas song year-round.  So for me, it’s a toss-up between “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Joy to the World,” my absolute favorite Christmas carol.

2. Hot chocolate, eggnog or mulled wine? Well, eggnog grosses me out,  I don’t think I’ve ever tasted mulled wine, so I’ll have to answer hot chocolate, even though I’d rather have hot tea (peppermint would be good!).

3. When do you put your Christmas decorations up? We always start decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving but never, ever before Thanksgiving is officially over.  I like to enjoy Thanksgiving and give it due honor.

4. What are you having for Christmas dinner? Ham, it is.  We also always have twice-baked potatoes, a couple kinds of vegetables, hot dinner rolls, a special multi-layered jello salad that I make every Christmas because it’s so pretty, and lots of cookies for dessert.

5. What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? When hubby and I were young marrieds, we visited an ice cream shop where we savored a special Christmas sundae.  Once we had our children, we began a tradition of making those sundaes every Christmas Eve before we attend church candlelight service.  We’ll be eating them tonight!

6. Have you ever gone caroling? Oh yes, Christmas caroling was definitely on our holiday agenda when I was growing up.  After hubby and I got married and had our children, our family always participated in caroling with our churches.  I’ve got lots of caroling memories stored in my memory bank, but in the last few years,  we haven’t gone caroling.   I miss it, so that’s something we need to  start again.

7. When did you discover the truth about Santa? What truth?? 😉

8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? It’s a hodge-podge of miscellany: a couple cherished ornaments from my parents’ tree, gifts from friends, ornaments we purchased on trips, with a few homemade ones thrown in for good measure, multi-colored twinkle lights, red bead garlands, and until this year, an angel topper  (but her lights burned out permanently this year, so now there’s a brand spanking new lighted star).

9. What’s the best thing about Christmas? For me, the best thing is spending time with my family while we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth.

10. What do you want for Christmas? JOY, JOY, JOY!

Perhaps you’d like to play along with your own Merry Christmas meme.  Or, if you’d like to respond to any of the above questions, feel free to do so in the comments.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com