On the Eighth Day of Christmas: Unchartered Territory for New Year's Day

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide. You can see previous Christmas Daybook 2018 posts here.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


New Year’s Day evokes the idea of untouched meadows and forests of pristine snow. Anyone else? It’s a good day for a hike. We’re supposed to be partly sunny and 55 degrees here in Connecticut so we’ll probably walk the beach instead. Maybe we can figure out how to build a sandman?

I curated today’s videos to reflect both the beauty and inherent danger of unchartered territory. If you watch the videos in the listed progression, you may notice the story arc which includes pristine beauty, courageous adventurers, inevitable danger, and the power of grit, wonder, and community. May you receive the storyline as a blessing on your 2019!

Watch:

  1. Snow Circles, Sonja Hinrichsen Snow Drawing

  2. Christmas in Yellowstone | Yellowstone Untouched, PBS Nature

  3. Ice Skating Along the River in Sweden, Erik Normark

  4. Snow Chick Ventures Onto the Ice for the First Time, BBC

  5. Perfect World - Katie Melua, Karni and Saul

  6. Buff PASH, Kurtis Jackson

  7. How Does A Penguin Launch Itself From the Sea?, BBC

  8. Dog sledding and aurora- Northern Lights on the Finnmark plateau, Jan Helmer Olsen


Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for the Feast of the Holy Name

Do:

Take a hike

[from my 2013 post: “12 Ways to Savor the 12 Days of Christmas”]

“Get outside. Take a road trip. Hike a nearby trail. Go skiing, sled-riding, ice-skating. This year we piled together in the van for the hour and a half trip to enjoy San Antonio's river walk. We were rewarded with a crisp, clear Texas night and a round yellow moon.”

p.s., Texas Parks & Wildlife coordinates guided “First Day Hikes”. You can find 2019 locations here. Anyplace else offer something similar?


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)

On the Seventh Day of Christmas: Savor the Feast of New Year's Eve

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO GET TO VIDEO HOME PAGE:  FEAST BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO GET TO VIDEO HOME PAGE: FEAST BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ

Just yesterday I caught myself downloading a fasting app on my phone. You heard me right. On the fifth day of Christmas, I thought I should start fasting. At one level, it makes sense. We’ve been consuming a whole lot of sugar, meat, and delicious ginger beer/vodka drinks and not a whole lot of vegetables. My body was probably trying to tell me something. How perfectly human of me to download an app to remind me not to eat for 12-16 hours rather than just walking to the fridge for some carrots and celery.

If you’ve been around here any number of years, you’ve heard me quote my Mama every Christmastide: “While we feast, we savor.” I’ve also shared one of my top lessons since following the liturgical calendar: In some ways celebration requires more discipline than sober contemplation.

Add to that a mild to severe case of post-family-visit blues and I subconsciously attempted to hit the Christmastide eject button before it was even half over.

Today’s New Year’s Eve. Maybe you’ve got a whole lot of goals that you plan to kickstart tomorrow, the first day of 2019. That’s fine. But for today, let’s keep feasting. Here’s five more clips plus one playlist highlighting the joy of festive celebration. Cheers!

p.s., I’ll be checking into that intermittent fasting app after January 6, the Feast of Epiphany!

Watch:

  1. Feast, Matt Zoller Seitz for the Museum of Moving Image

    (Technically, this video was made for Thanksgiving, but I love it for Christmastide as well. If you can’t get it to play from this post, click the link here to go to the original page. If you like food and movies, you’ll be glad you did.)

  2. Happy New Year, Orange Mobile

  3. Grilled Shrimp with Peanuts and Lime, Tiger In A Jar

  4. How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board, Bon Appétit

  5. Dark Moon, Bon Appétit

  6. 10 Vintage New Year’s Eve Movies - 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, (I’dd add When Harry Met Sally for the 90s!)

Listen: my New Year’s Eve playlist on Spotify


Leader: To gather joyfully is indeed a serious affair, for feasting and all enjoyments gratefully taken are, at their heart, acts of war.

People: In celebrating this feast we declare that evil and death, suffering and loss, sorrow and tears, will not have the final word.

But the joy of fellowship, and the welcome and comfort of friends new and old, and the celebration of these blessings of food and drink and conversation and laughter are the true evidences of things eternal, and are the first fruits of that great glad joy that is to come and that will be unending.

So let our feast this day be joined to those sure victories secured by Christ.
Let it be to us now a delight, and a glad foretaste of his eternal kingdom.
Bless us, O Lord, in this feast.

Bless us, O Lord, as we linger over our cups, And over tables laden with good things, as we relish the delights of varied texture and flavor,
Of aromas and savory spices,
Of dishes prepared as acts of love and blessing,
Of sweet delights made sweeter by the communion of saints.

May this shared meal, and our pleasure in it, bear witness against the artifice and deceptions of the prince of the darkness that would blind this world to hope.
May it strike at the root of the lie that would drain life of meaning, and the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.
May this our feast fall like a great hammer blow against that brittle night,
Shattering the gloom, reawakening our hearts,
stirring our imaginations, focusing our vision
On the kingdom of heaven that is to come
On the kingdom that is promised
On the kingdom that is already, indeed, among us,
For the resurrection of all good things has already joyfully begun.

May this feast be an echo of that great supper of the Lamb,
and a foreshadowing of the great celebration that awaits the children of God.

Where two or more of us are gathered, O Lord, there you have promised to be
And here we are
And so, here are you.
Take joy, O King, in this our feast.
Take joy, O King!

Leader: All will be well!
Participants then take up the cry: All will be well!

Nothing good and right and true will be lost forever. All good things will be restored.
Feast and be reminded!
Take joy, little flock. Take joy!
Let battle be joined!
Let battle be joined!

Now you who are loved by the Father, prepare your hearts and give yourselves wholly to this celebration of joy, to the glad company of saints, to the comforting fellowship of the Spirit, and to the abiding presence of Christ who is seated among us both as our host and as our honored guest, and still yet as our conquering king.
Amen.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, take seat, take feast, take delight!
— Douglas Kaine McKelvey, Every Moment Holy

Do:

Feast in the New Year

 More friends, more feasting, more game-playing, more music.  Savor the excess.

[from my 2013 post: "My Mama’s Rule For Feasting."

“My mother created a rule for feasting years ago. As a family, we'd often be invited into other people's homes for mouth-watering meals, but too many times the dinner conversation revolved around the fattening, unhealthy qualities we consumed. It felt like each dish spooned onto our plate came heaped with sides of shame and guilt.  At her own dinner table, my mother would not tolerate this sort of pious, joy-wrecking conversation.  This is how she taught us her motto for hospitality: While we feast, we savor.

This is no way to feast, friends. Keeping in mind that legalism kills, but order brings life to our family celebrations, Brian and I keep my mother's rule close to heart. While we feast, we savor. At Christmas, we savor every sort of gift - food, music, family, friends, and the boxes and bags we wrap up and hand to each other.  All of it -- the ones we give and the ones we receive -- unearned.  All of it, grace.”


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)

On the Sixth Day of Christmas: She Cooked A Christmas Meal That Made Me Feel Like Family & 5 Other Stories

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


 

Yelitza Castro makes the homeless men and women she cooks for feel like family. At StoryCorps, Yelitza spoke with her friend, Willie Davis, about the Christmas meal she cooked for him when he was homeless and how those meals changed his life.

The “stranger at the door” motif pervades Christmas folklore and, I imagine, is rooted in the crew of unknown friends who showed up at the manger and, later, at Mary and Joseph’s home. I hope you enjoy today’s stories, and please let me know if you have any of your own!

Watch:

  1. She cooked a Christmas meal that made me feel like family, StoryCorps

  2. A Christmas Memory About A Stolen Bike and An Unexpected Lesson About Generosity, StoryCorps

  3. Love Thy Neighbor, The Perennial Plate

  4. Rent A Family For the Holidays, CBS Sunday Morning

  5. The Greatest Gift, CBS Sunday Morning

  6. Giving Strangers A Christmas Morning, Mark Gagnon


Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for First Sunday After Christmas

Do:

Extend your family

[from my 2012 post 12 Ways to Savor the 12 Days of Christmas]

“ The last two years we've missed our extended family something terrible at Christmas. We're hoping that will change in 2013; at the same time we're glad we've had the opportunity to experience Christmas without family nearby.  With twelve whole days to celebrate, we enjoyed spending a few of them with other people who were alone.”


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)

On the Fifth Day of Christmas: 5 Must-See Carol Collaborations

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide. You can see previous Christmastide Daybook posts from 2018 here.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


Watch:

  1. Holst: In the Bleak Midwinter - Arr. Kanneh-Mason, Per. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason

  2. The First Noel with Leslie Odom, Jr., feat. PS22 Chorus (2018)

  3. A Christmas Song in the Silo, Bruderhof

  4. “Go Tell It On the Mountain” (Holidaze at CMT), Charlie Peacock, Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth

  5. Someday At Christmas, Stevie Wonder, Andra Day

 

Have you been introduced to the amazing Kanneh-Mason siblings? The first performance that caught my attention was Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s cello solo at the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year. I didn’t realize Sheku is the third-eldest of seven prodigously gifted classical musicians. After you listen to this brother/sister duet of In the Bleak Midwinter (arranged by nineteen-year-old Sheku and recorded earlier this month at Abbey Road Studios), head over to this link: CBS Sunday Morning - The Kanneh-Masons The family that plays together. [H/T again (!) to Victoria Emily Jones at Art & Theology blog].

Here’s four more favorite Christmas carol collaborations. Enjoy!

 

O Lord, thank you for the gift of music the rich tradition of carols we pass from generation to generation all throughout the world. Let such melodies penetrate my heart’s defenses, gently revealing old wounds unto their eventual healings, gently stirring eternal longings unto the restoration of hope. Amen.
— adapted from "Upon Being Moved By A Song Or A Piece of Music", Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey

Do:

Sing Christmas carols.

[from my post 12 Ways To Savor the 12 Days of Christmas]

The Anglican worship service sings only Advent hymns during the month of December.  We try to follow suit at home. Although -- I'm not gonna lie -- long about December 2 this year I caught Brian singing "Santa, Baby" in the kitchen one morning!  The Sunday after Christmas our church worships with a liturgy of Lessons and Carols, or in the words of our former beloved worship pastor, the last gasp of Christmas. With the frenetic pace of December, don't you love the idea of Christmas caroling at a nursing home or around an elderly friend's old upright piano during the last week of Christmas?


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)

On the Fourth Day of Christmas: Away From the Manger for the Feast of Holy Innocents

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide. You can see previous Christmas Daybook 2018 posts here.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


Watch:

  1. Away From the Manger (The Refugee King), Words and music by Liz ViceWen ReaganBruce BenedictGreg Scheer, and Lester Ruth | Performed by Liz Vice (lead vocals) and Hannah Glavor (guitar and backing vocals) (2018)

  2. Trinity on the Border

  3. What Do Syrian Refugees Want For Christmas, (2017) AJ

  4. Alone at Christmas: Refugee Diaries, (2017) BBC 3

 
  • An introduction to this song that Victoria Emily Jones wrote at Art & Theology: “…a reprise of the saccharine “Away in a Manger” that takes into account the Massacre of the Innocents and the resultant flight to Egypt of the Holy Family, thereby giving a broader view of the Christmas story, one that coheres better with the Matthean narrative, which ends with Rachel weeping. The clever twists on the original lyrics and the grayer tonality give a sense of the darkness into which Jesus came and also resonate with the experiences, hopes, and fears of many contemporary refugees.” (Lyrics here)

  • Fr. Michael and Dr. Erica Jarrett are the founders of Trinity on the Border—a chapel and outreach mission serving Christ along the South Texas/Mexico border. Part of Michael’s duties include helping immigrant shelters and serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. You can join him in Morning and Evening prayer each day atthetrinitymission.org.

    If you would like to learn more about how you and your church can participate in their work on the border from wherever you are in the country, check out thebordermission.org.

The Fourth Day of Christmas - December 28th
The Feast of the Holy Innocents - "Childermass"

This is a day when children should have the preeminence in family life, leading the family prayers, making decisions about family activities for the day, having the place of honor at meals, and so forth. Households that do not have children might "adopt" a neighborhood family or two with their children and make a party at which the children are the guests of honor.

The story of the Holy Innocents is one of the most poignant stories in all of Scripture, "Rachel weeping for her children... because they are no more."  It is a day to give thanks for the children in our lives, whether in our own families or in the larger family of the Church.  And it is a good day to revive the ancient custom of parents blessing their children at the end of the day, as part of their nightly prayers. 

 

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Feast of Holy Innocents

Bless the children.

The Blessing of Children by Parents or Friends of the Family

O God our Father, whose Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, once embraced the little children who were brought to him, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, and their angels always see the face of my Father;"  Look now, we beseech thee, on the innocence of these children: Bless them and protect them this night and throughout their lives; (the parent makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each child) in thy grace and goodness let them advance continually, longing for thee, knowing thee, and loving thee, that they may at the last come to their destined home and behold thee face to face; through Jesus Christ, the Holy Child of Bethlehem, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Then, taking the head of each child in both hands, a parent says to each one:  May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit bless you and keep you both now and for evermore.  Amen.


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)