Christmas Daybook, 10: Savor light

Welcome to 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? 


Bruce Munro - Light Shower installation at Salisbury Cathedral

I highly encourage you to dive deeply into artist Bruce Munro's works at his website

In Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, writer Bobby Gross refers to the seasons of Advent, Christmastide, and Epiphany as the cycle of light (with Lent - Pentecost, the cycle of life). Living out this cycle in the dark winter of the northern hemisphere benefits body, mind, and spirit, individually and as a community. 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5)

All readings for today: 1 Kings 19:9-18, Psalm 68, Ephesians 4:17-32, John 6:15-27

Prayer for today:

Light of life, you came in flesh, born into human pain and joy, and gave us power to be your children. Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us, so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness and walk in the way of peace. Amen.

Observing stars and super moons last December at  Grace Farms , New Canaan CT

Observing stars and super moons last December at Grace Farms, New Canaan CT

Follow light like the journeying magi.  

{an excerpt from my post 12 Ways To Savor the 12 Days of Christmas

Find every possible way to savor the beauty of light during the darkest time of the year.  Light candles, build a fire, sit in the dark and look at your lit tree, visit a holiday light show in town, take a bath by candlelight, go outside and look at the stars.

(read more here)

(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2016 here.)

Christmas Daybook, 7 & 8: Savor ringing out the old and ringing in the new

Welcome to 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? 

from " In Memoriam A.H.H ." by Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) ( source )

from "In Memoriam A.H.H." by Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) (source)


Ring Out Wild Bells - Crofts Family & Ring Out, Wild Bells - A New Year's Song by Alana Levandoski

While I'm vaguely familiar with this poem, it wasn't until reading this recent post by the wonderful Victoria Emily Jones (Art & Theology blog) that I took the time to notice the poem - both the words by Tennyson and the various musical arrangements. (See the blog post for a list of various musical settings.) With the poem top of mind, I noticed a day or so later another retuning from a thoughtful musician I follow on Facebook, Alana Levandoski. 

As we end 2017, I'm so grateful for all of these writers and musicians, for every single collaboration and bit of artistic effort that's culminated in the gift of helping me express both lament for the old and hope for the new. 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Read Victoria Emily Jones' brief introduction of Tennyson's words: 

"This passage, from one of the greatest (and longest!) poems of the nineteenth century, is the source of the popular expression “ring out the old, ring in the new.” Ringing church bells at midnight on New Year’s Eve was already a deep-set tradition in England, and people understood the ringing as ushering in both life (the new year ahead) and death (saying good-bye to the past). But Tennyson’s poeticization of this symbolic practice has made its symbolism all the more enduring, and his list of specific qualities to let go of and others to welcome in provides a helpful template for new-year prayer and resolution making."


All readings for today (first Sunday after Christmas): Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Psalm 148, Galatians 4:4-7, Luke 2:22-40

Prayer for today:

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

7.pablo. ring out old ring in new.png

Celebrate today, the final day of 2017

I've been thinking about how the little church I grew up in had a New Year's Eve party that included a lot of food, games, and hilarity, but also a time for sharing hopes and requests, culminating in taking communion together just before midnight. I love that balance of ringing out the old and ringing in the new. Find a way today that is meaningful to you (and your friends and family) to do the same. In the past, we've sometimes each placed a small list of resolutions/hopes/intentions for the new year in the toe of our Christmas stockings to pull out the following year at Christmas. 

Encourage reflection at your table today. It can be as simple as "Name one disappointment and highlight from 2017 and one hope for 2018. If you want to dive a little deeper, here's a great list of questions for conversation and reflection during today's celebration: 20 Questions for New Year's Eve via Art of Simple

Happy New Year, friends!

(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2016 here.)