Archive for December, 2014

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

nativity-baby-jesus-christmas-2008-christmas-2806967-1000-5581

*

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0lLeImcMxM

#ShortNews : Priests facing dangers in Mexico

For Catholic priests, Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America, the Fides news service reports.

A study by the Catholic Multimedia Center recorded 47 attacks on Catholic priests in Mexico in the past 24 years. From 1990 to the present, 35 priests (including one cardinal) have been killed, along with a deacon and three religious.

In 2014, three priests have been murdered in Mexico, and a layman who was caught alongside a priest in a shootout barely survived.

http://www.fides.org/en/news/37022-AMERICA_MEXICO_Mexico_is_the_most_dangerous_country_in_Latin_America_where_to_exercise_the_priestly_ministry#.VJl0AsBgQ

#ShortNews : China: crosses torn down from 400 churches

In recent months, Communist officials have removed crosses from 400 over churches in the east-central Chinese province of Zhejiang, the Associated Press reported.

“They keep a very close watch on us, and there is nothing we can do,” said an official at one church. “The situation is not good, as any attempt to re-erect the cross will be stopped.”

Local civil authorities also banned Christmas celebrations in schools.

“We had guidance on foreign holidays such as Christmas in the past, but this year marks the first time we issued a clearer notice,” said one education official.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/crosses-torn-400-churches-eastern-china-article-1.2056417

#ShortNews : Topless feminist protester seizes Jesus figure from display in St. Peter’s Square

A topless protester from the activist group Femen rushed into the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day and seized the figure of the baby Jesus before being detained by police.

The blonde woman—who had the words “God is Woman” written across her breasts—was arrested by Italian police. Her publicity stunt occurred in the afternoon, when no official events were taking place but St. Peter’s Square was still full of pilgrims and tourists admiring the Christmas display.

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/europe/story/topless-femen-activist-grabs-baby-jesus-st-peters-square-20141226#sthash.B2UT1nmB.dpuf

Ad Christmas Wreaths – Wreath Craft Ideas

Most people want to place a sign of the season on their front door. Usually the decoration of choice is a wreath. Wreaths don’t have to only go on the front door and they don’t only have to be made out of artificial pine garland or real pine sprigs. Think outside the box this Christmas and create a beautiful and unique wreath.

The holiday wreath on the front door welcomes people to your home. Traditionally it was good luck to hang greenery because it remained green throughout the winter when everything else had died. Greenery gave a pleasant scent to the air inside the home as well.

A wreath is a symbol of goodwill during the holiday season. Seeing one on the door lets guests know that they will feel warm and welcome in the home. There are plenty of wreaths that the kids can help make too. Here are some ideas of homemade wreaths to make with your kids.

An Advent wreath is used to welcome the day that has been set aside as the birth date of Jesus Christ. Each Sunday, a candle in the wreath is lit to symbolize one of four virtues: hope, love, peace, and joy. The wreath symbolizes the spiritual aspect of Christmas.

Wreaths are usually made of evergreen pine sprigs and decorated with bows or holly with berries. The Christmas wreath has evolved into so much more since the early days of Christmas celebrations. They have become bigger and more ornate each year.

Most stores carry undecorated wreaths. These are artificial wreaths that are just waiting for you to add your magic touch. If you plan on using the same wreath each year, let each member of the family add something to it to symbolize the uniqueness of the whole family.

Bows are a great choice for additions to any wreath. The fabric can be looped around the wreath or you can use a hot glue gun to attach smaller bows to the front of the wreath. Tiny figures like English horns, cherubs, Christmas trees, Santa ornaments, and pine cones can be added to the wreath as well. A blast of spray snow on the tips of the pine needles brings a touch of winter to the entire decoration.

If you want to get away from the pine variety of wreath, try dried fruit slices. Thin slices of fruit like apples and oranges can be dried and arranged in a circle. The slices can then be glued together in the shape of a wreath. Add sprigs of holly, mint, and other herbs to create an even more inviting scent. Don’t limit your wreath to just the front door either. Fruit wreaths can be hung in the kitchen or dining room. Cover them with a varnish or other coating so as not to attract ants and insects to your creation.

Wreaths can also be made out of fabric and stuffing. A festive cloth can be used to make a tubular shape. Stuff the cloth with pillow filling to give it a full look. Add herbs to the filling or try a scented spray to the outer covering. These wreaths can be hung on bedroom doors and in any room where you want a nice, clean holiday smell.

Experiment with your own unique ideas for homemade wreaths as well. Purchase undecorated wreath forms and let the kids decide what types of things to add to it. They may decide on a string of lights or ornaments. Ornaments aren’t restricted to round shiny balls anymore. They come in hot pink, electric blue, and lime green. I’ve seen pigs, cows, clowns, and other figures that aren’t typical for Christmas ornaments, but add a more personal touch to whatever it is they adorn.

Jingle bells! A wreath made of sleigh bells will make a delightful ringing sound each time you open the front door. Bells can be glued to a traditional wreath form or tied to a wire form so they won’t slip. Because bells are small, several will be needed to fill out an entire wreath without leaving gaps. You can also use various size bells to make it unique. For instance, by a few bigger bells and twice as many small bells then create a pattern around the wreath of one big bell, two small bells and continue until the wreath is complete.

Who knew wreaths could be so much fun to make? Spending time with the kids is an added blessing and helps to make even the most normal holiday activities more interesting and fun.

A Christmas wreath can be created from any number of items. Look at what you already have and see what you can do with before you purchase a wreath from the store. Put your thinking cap on and in a few easy steps, you could have a house full of holiday wreaths in no time.

*

christmas wreath

Saint Joseph The Betrothed

joseph and child jesusSaint Joseph, also referred to as Joseph the Betrothed and as Joseph of Nazareth, was the foster-father of Jesus, according to the New Testament (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23). Joseph, whose father was called Jacob, was the third of six brothers. At any rate, Bethlehem, the city of David and his descendants, appears to have been the birth-place of Joseph. When, however, the Gospel history opens, namely, a few months before the Annunciation, Joseph was settled at Nazareth.

St. Joseph, indeed, was a tekton. The word means both mechanic in general and carpenter in particular. The Bible tells us very little of Joseph, but from the early chapters of Matthew and Luke we glean that he was a carpenter by trade, a just and pious man, and a most excellent husband and father. The genealogy given in (Matthew 1-17), traces his line from Abraham and King David.

In accordance with the Jewish ritual, he was betrothed to the Virgin Mary, who was also of the race of David. Later, having learned that she was with child, though he had not been near her, he was privately considering putting her away. Being “a just man and unwilling to put her to shame” (Matt. 1:19), he decided to divorce her quietly, knowing that if he did so publicly, she could be stoned to death. An angel, however, came to Joseph and told him that the child Mary carried was the son of God and was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so Joseph kept Mary as his wife.

It was at this time of uncertainty that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and revealed to him the Mystery of the Incarnation. “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David,” said the angel, “to take to thee Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten of her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save the people from their sins” (Luke 20-21).

Joseph now accepted without question the two-fold office with which he was charged, protector of Mary’s honor and foster father of the child that was to be born. He took Mary with him from Nazareth to Bethlehem, when, in compliance with the Roman edict, it was necessary to return there for the census-taking. After Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, an angel came to Joseph again, this time to warn him and Mary about King Herod of Judaea and the violence he would bring down upon the child. Joseph then fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, and the angel appeared again, telling Joseph that Herod had died and instructing him to return to the Holy Land.

We know that Joseph was at the stable of the inn beside his wife when the three wise men, following a star, came there out of the East to honor the newborn child with precious gifts. The infant was duly circumcized, and when the forty days prescribed by Mosaic law were passed, Joseph and Mary took him to the temple in Jerusalem. A certain holy man named Simeon, to whom it had been revealed that he would not die until he had seen the Christ, was in the temple on that day, and when he saw Jesus, he knew that this was the promised Messiah. The priest blessed Joseph and Mary and spoke of the glory that had come to them.

Avoiding Bethlehem and possible actions by Herod’s successor, Joseph, Mary and Jesus settled in Nazareth, in Galilee. It was the time when Joseph decided to go back to his previous profesion as tekton and it is assumed that Joseph taught his craft to Jesus in Nazareth.

The circumstances of Joseph’s death are not known, but it is likely that he died before Jesus’s ministry began, and it is implied that he was dead before the Crucifixion (John 19:26-27).

*

jm_200_NT1.pd-P7.tiff

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans