Saturday, December 22, 2007

Twas in the moon of wintertime...

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

This version performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English.

Lyrics in English:
twas in the moon of wintertime / when all the birds had fled
that mighty Gitche Manitou / sent angel choirs instead
before their light the stars grew dim / and wand'ring hunters heard the hymn
Jesus your king is born / Jesus is born / in excelsis gloria

within a lodge of broken bark / the tender babe was found
a ragged robe of rabbit skin / enwrapped his beauty round
but as the hunter braves drew nigh / the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your king is born / Jesus in born / in excelsis gloria

the earliest moon of wintertime / is not so round and fair
as was the ring of glory on / that helpless infant there
the chiefs from far before him knelt / with gifts of fox and beaver-pelt
Jesus your king is born / Jesus in born / in excelsis gloria

O children of the forest free / beloved of Manitou
the holy child of earth and heaven / is born today for you
come kneel before the radiant boy / who brings you beauty, peace and joy
Jesus your king is born / Jesus in born / in excelsis gloria

Nativity and Magi

A little early for the visit of the Magi but here are the other figures of my Nativity set.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Here are the shepherds and one sheep from my Nativity set. More to follow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


More thoughts on Advent IV and Joseph. Here are 2 poems of Joseph from RevGalBlogPals.

I'm a carpenter.
I make things fit. I square off the edges.
I follow the pumb line.
I measure twice before I cut once.
Surprises are not the friend of a builder.
I like to know the plan.
I like to see the plan before I begin.
But this time I'm not the builder, am I?
This time I'm a tool.
A hammer in your grip.
A nail between your fingers.
I am a chisel is your hands.
This project is yours, not mine....

by Max Lucado in He Still Moves Stones

And by J. Barrie Shepherd, Faces at the Manger
“The hardest task
The most difficult role of all
That of just being there
And Joseph, dearest Joseph, stands for that.
Don’t you see?

It is important,
crucially important,
that he stand there by that manger,
as he does,
In all his silent misery
Of doubt concern and fear.
If Joseph were not there
There might be no place for us,
For those of us at least-
So many- who recognize and know-
That heartache, for our own,
Who share that helpless sense
Of lostness, of impotence
In our own lives, our families, our jobs
In our fearful threatened world this night.
Yes, in Joseph’s look of anguish
We find our place;
We discover that we too
Belong beside the manger:
This manger in which are met
God’s peace and all our wars and fears....
Let us be there,
Simply be there just as Joseph was,
With nothing we can do now,
Nothing we can bring-
It’s far too late for that-
Nothing even to be said
Except, ‘Behold- be blessed,
Be silent, be at peace.’

Joseph, son of David,
‘Do not fear,’ the angel said.
And Jim and Alice, Fred and Sue,
Bob and Tom and Jean and Betty too,
The word to you, to all of us
Here at the manger side,
The word is also, ‘do not fear.’
Our God, the Lord and Sovereign,
Maker of heaven and earth,
Time and eternity,
Of life and death and all that is
And shall be,Has joined us in this moment…,”

And the hymn Joseph Dearest

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent IV

The readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent are here.
This year we focus on Matthew's story of the birth of Christ. Luke focuses on Mary but Matthew focuses on Joseph. Joseph goes to bed after a hard day of learning that his intended bride is pregnant and trying decide what to do to preserve his honor and still be compassionate towards Mary. He makes s decision to put her away quietly- maybe like those girls in High School when I was young (so many years ago) - who went away to visit an aunt for 9 months and then mysteriously returned to resume life as though nothing had happened.

Joseph falls into a deep sleep perhaps the sleep of escape from the trials and anger and sadness of the day. As he sleeps Joseph dreams of an angel who gives him a surprising message that will turn his life upside down if he acts on the message. The shift from one day to the next for Joseph is stunning. When have we had such a dramatic change of heart and mind - 180 degrees? Going along thinking life is constructed in one particular way and then having something happen where we are never the same again. How do we live into this new way of being? On the other hand what sorts of things change us like this -- angels? new knowledge? new experiences where the old data no longer fits?

Looking over the whole of scripture there seems to be a lot of changes of mind and heart. God changes his mind after an argument with Abraham. Also in the desert with Moses and the Israelites. Paul after his encounter on the road to Damascus, Peter and the Gentiles, all through the Bible - God and God's people change their minds more often than not.

Not preaching Sunday but this is what intrigues me: dreams, changes, reversals, surprising times for those who choose to follow Christ. Most of all it reminds me of the song Rainbow Connection sung by Kermit the Frog.