Archive for December, 2008

Christmas songs – December 22

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

A friend of mine, Wayne Gibson, and I decided a while ago to do an evening (OK, more like an hour’s worth) of Christmas music.  We enlisted my wife’s assistance and have been practicing this last little while.

Why?  Well, the message of Christmas is always relevant.  But there were other more subtle reasons.  We know that people are busy doing things for Christmas. 

This past week was “school presentation” week.  I’ve given up on trying to attend all, or sometimes any, of these great presentations.  Pack this time full with regular responsibilities and you are being transported or transporting people from one place to another like a river constantly flowing — and wishing the stream would freeze over so you could slow down for a minute.

And if you think this activiteness (a new word I just minted!) is just for those with kids.  Not so!  Two weeks ago seemed to be our “seniors supper” week.  Everyone seemed to have a dinner, or luncheon, or special presentation.  Every night of the week (a little exaggeration there, but not much).

And then December 21st hits.  The first day of winter.  The first day that seems to be free of the adrenalin that can distract us from the reason for the season.  For some there is still the preparation for Christmas day — but there is a one or two day window before you have to gear up for everyone who is coming.

That window (from what I can see) happens to fall on December 22nd this year.

That’s the day you just need to sit back in an informal setting, and hear Christmas music again for the very first time.

7:00 pm on Monday, December 22nd — the venue is the Kindersley Alliance Church on 74 West Road in Kindersley — the cost is negligible (which means — no cost!). 

Sing a few timeless carols — listen to some new Christmas music.  Wayne has a new song he wrote just this past week, I’ve got a song I wrote in the past year, and we have permission to use another song featured on the CBC radio Christmas music contest last year.  Add to that a bit more music, friends and family, and perhaps this window is the one you need to be peering through this year!!

Our advertising includes one poster at our local church!  This is a word of mouth thing — so if you know of someone who would enjoy this, let them know.  Feel free to use Facebook, or email, or phone, or . . .  Maybe even consider coming yourself.  Let me know if you are coming — I’ll make sure I have a chair set out just for you.

From another perspective – Koran and Torah

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

In the last few days I’ve picked up, totally unplanned and inadvertently, two books.  One at Coles, thinking it was on sale.  Another left behind and crying out to be examined.

The first book is a prayer book, the second an examination of a sacred text.  The Jewish prayer book’s introduction on prayer is amazing.  I’ve read many books on prayer from a Christian perspective.   This book is succinct and a great approach to prayer.  The second explains how the Koran is to be treated in respect — literally watching carefully how the paper and ink are transported, held and even placed.

I’m reminded that the written sacred text is important.  In the past few years we have been dwelt on the statement “in the beginning was the Word” as referring to the living Word of God, found alive in the life of a Christian.  We have underplayed the truth of the written Word of God — because our society is so bound to experience, a current happening and the sensual life.  Words on paper seem so sterile! 

Every once in a while we need to return to the awe that comes from the scrawlings on paper and parchment.  These are the words of God.

As I read these books, though, I was reminded that one thing remains.  For all the sacredness of texts which intersect Jews and Muslims, what we Christians call the Old Testament, there is yet one thing missing.  They miss the Messiah — in flesh and blood — who affirms the written texts but is himself the living text.

So, if Christmas does one thing — for all the fuzzy feelings and family sensibilities  our culture and media stress — Christmas is distinctive.  Here is the Messiah come in flesh and blood.  For the Jews this point allows for either a recognition that anticipation of the Messiah has been fulfilled, or a belief that anticipation still awaits.  For the Muslim, this is a point of recognition that either the Messiah was enough, or that, centuries later, there was a needed fulfilment of “another” to come and reveal God more fully. 

For the Christian, Jesus is both the anticipation and the fulfilment!

Succulent Chicken

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Best description I can think of!

As we sat for meal at lunch today, our plates had four quadrants of food (five if you count beet pickles — a delicacy some truly enjoy).  The “we” is our XYZ seniors group.  The food was carrots, baked potatoes, salad and chicken breasts.

Now, not often do the seniors head back for seconds.  Many fill up on the first time around.  And sometimes with heaping plates.  Filled to the outer edge and piled high enough to create a small mountain (pardon me for the exaggeration, although my own plate could sometimes fit the description).

Today’s experience was somewhat modified.  Yes, some still piled their plates high first time around.  But then, there was a second time around.  The chicken was sooo tasty and melted in your mouth.  The coating was delicious.  Without much urging a group of stragglers headed back for more.

And, after all was said and done, the kitchen saw a few visitors wondering how the meal had been prepared.

Now, that’s success!!

Christmas holidays shaping up

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Previously, in what seems like another life, our Christmas plans were moulded in cement by early December.

This year the winter snow fell Saturday night and the snow shovels are out for the season.  And now the calendar is being filled with somewhere between a pencil and a felt tip marker.

Christmas day we hope to be at our daughter’s in Prince Albert.  We’ll probably drive up the day before.  December 29 is my father’s birthday so we hope to  be in LaFleche to celebrate with him on that day.  December 22, Jill and I will join our good friend, Wayne Gibson, in providing an evening concert of Christmas music – some carols to sing and some songs to listen to.

Other than that, the calendar is somewhat open.  Maybe some late morning risings and later evening stayingups (new word – check and see if its on wikipedia yet!!).

Trust your holidays are falling onto your calendar pages.  My thoughts on Christmas are to seek times where Christ is seen – and often family and friends are a great place to start!!

Youth Christmas Baking

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Well, plans change – often for the better. 

In this case, all those cookies are now cupcakes.  And beautifully decorated!  Below is a sample of the craftsmanship that keeps you coming back for more.  These culinary delights will be delivered to seniors over the next while.  Sorry, we can’t add any more to the list — you’ll just have to savor the picture of delight!

youth christmas baking 2008

Cookies – not the internet!

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The last few days I’ve run an additional virus checker on one of my computer.  I had heard of some problems on other machines lately, and some of them being friend’s computers.  There were a few non-threatening tracking cookies (what a great name — someone needs to do a dissertation on words and their changing image in the computer age).  Other than that  . . .  nothing seems out of place.

So, tonight our youth group is actually doing something with cookies.  Tangible, real, able to be baked, cookies!  We are preparing for distribution of these cookies to our seniors in our congregation (numbering just over 30 people). 

Tonight we will do the baking.  We had hoped to get to the baking last week, but circumstances dictated otherwise.  Some of the kids showed up looking forward to the baking time!  Today we’ll cap our evening with that excitement — baking cookies.

Now, I have to admit, my daughter has some fond memories of baking cookies.  I even remember trying my hand at cookie baking with my kids.

I guess there really is something to the “ordinary” things of life providing “extraordinary” experiences!  Let’s all get out there and join us “Bakers”!

A banging good day!

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Well, there are just days when you feel awake, alive and well.  And things just jump out at you and hit you.  Like the corner of a table, or someone you thought you could get around, or just picking things up — awkwardly.

Yes, that was today.  By the end of the day you are watching before, behind and all around.  Could make one paranoid.  Unless you decide to have selective memory and chose not to remember previous experiences.  In which case, there may be greater things to consider!

So, I’m in my pajamas now, ready to end the day and hoping to jump into bed soon.  As long as I don’t wipe out on the mattress first!!

Knees in shape

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

The pictures of my knees were taken today.  I carefully examined the x-rays and they looked good.  The doctor said they were good too.  A bit of swelling in the right knee, but hopefully nothing to worry about.

Overall I’m in good shape.  While I was there one gentleman had a knee that had been done the second time, and another knee that needed done, a heart condition that needed his sternum reconfigured and his back has had surgery.  Another young fellow had the ACL blown out — his sports career was forever gone.  And a grandmother with her granddaughter just enjoying  the time together. 

Nothing better than a doctor’s office to get in an extended visit!

Lights are up

Monday, December 1st, 2008

December 1st has been traditionally the time we put up Christmas decorations.  Or, at least my wife put them up!

Today was 9 degrees Celcius outside.  Warm enough to bask in the sun, and get the summer tan started early.  Warm enough to put up Christmas lights before the -40 degree weather hits.

Which reminds me!  This year is unusual.  Here we are into December and the weather is gorgeous.  No snow.  No lingering frost.  No icy roads.  Great conversation starter!

Back to the decorations! 

We have a crown lit be LED lights that goes on over the Christmas season.  Living on King Drive, the tradition is to light each house with a crown.  The tradition started in the ’60’s when these homes were built.  Most of the block still continues the time honored ideal.

Our crown looks a little sick.  We switched over to LED lights and they don’t space as well as those energy gobbling C7/C9 lights.  Nevertheless, when the dusk falls there is light on the rooftop.

We also place garlands around the pillars on the front of the house.  This year we have added lights.  Next year, who knows?  Maybe fireworks!

Done for another year.  Now all we have to do is pay the power bill!