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Ghostly visible

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August 6, 2016 Photo (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Ghostly visible
as winter’s “Fresh Blueberries”
summer’s Christmas scene

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly

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I photographed the Christmas scene above last August when we were visiting the kids up north. I wondered how many times I had passed it and not even seen it. It made me think of other things we see and subconsciously ignore because we know they just aren’t relevant. Is there some psychological phenomena behind that? Probably!
PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Carol at Carol’s Corner.

 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Objects, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Journey through Advent

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Image: Pixabay

Today I’m recommending my friend Laurel’s blog for your Advent reading.

When her two children with Autism Spectrum Disorder could no longer tolerate the upheaval of Christmas, she knew she would have to find a different way than with decorations, visiting, lavish gifts and meals to celebrate. She tells her story on this video.

This new reality turned her toward the quiet, 25-day-long celebration of Advent, which she chronicles each year on a blog. For the past few years she has asked fellow-travellers to join her. (I’m honored to be one of them this year).

You can follow our Advent journey on her blog Four Parts Hope. (This year we’re doing cinquain, tanka, haiku, psalms, found poems, and Laurel’s main writings will be haibun.)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Bridget the wise one at wee words for wee ones.

 

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“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”

Though we’re just starting December the First Sunday of Advent is already past and Christmas is in the air. Sarah Arthur’s Light upon Light (a book of readings for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) recalled the beautiful song “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

I first heard “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” sung by the Amadeus Children’s Choir when our daughter was a member of it. At the beginning of the Christmas concert the children entered the auditorium singing it in their clear, pure voices. What a heavenly sound!

Since then it has become one of my favorite Christmas songs. Its beautiful lyrics and plaintive tune make it unforgettable.

The words are from a poem written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-413). The tune is plainsong (a type of old Catholic liturgical music), and from the 13th century. I think the plainsong aspect of it—it is monophonic and has a free (not measured) rhythm—make it so mysterious and exotic.

And then there are the words, translated from the Latin by John M. Neale (1854) and Henry W. Baker (1859). What theology! What praise! I’ve posted some of my favorites of the nine stanzas.

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Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

 

Roby Furley Davis translated it from the Latin as well. All three versions (Latin, English versions 1 and 2) are here.

And here it is in  song…

 

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Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

November or early December is the time
to start on this year’s Christmas cake

Pour several cups of sweet anticipation into a large bowl
– the first snowfall when we hauled out the Christmas records
– all the dolls in the Sear’s catalogue
– paint smells from the basement
cut in a pound of cold reality
– the year I worked nights and slept through
– the first Christmas without Daddy
– the one I broke my wrist
and cream these two ingredients

When blended and smooth
stir in – 1 cup at a time
the plans, ideas, long wish lists,
credit cards and shopping trips,
decorating, light’s a’blinking,
CDs spinning, here we come a-caroling —
keep on stirring

Fold in the surprises next
– a perfect tiny poinsettia for the coffee table
– a leisurely lunch on the Starlight Dinner Train
– room on a standby flight Christmas Eve

Finally toss in
– a teaspoon of worry (surely I’ve forgotten something)
– and a pinch of pride (the house glows by candlelight
while we sip our eggnog Christmas Eve)

Give it the final flourish
– signed! the last (late) card of the season
and bake in a turkey-fragrant oven.
You know it’s done
when the last chocolate is eaten
all the tinsel is vacuumed
and the house is New Year tidy once more.

(Guaranteed to never turn out the same)

Copyright 2004 – Violet Nesdoly

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This poem was first published 2004 in A Night Not to be Silent – A Literary Christmas Greeting, put together by Darlene Moore Berg for the poets at Utmost Christian Writers.  I first published it on this blog in December of 2010; today it’s appearing again as a re-post.

Poetry Friday LogoIt’s linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tara at A Teaching Life.

 

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Christmas, Personal, Poetry Friday, Prose poem

 

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A Chistmas Prayer

 

Christmas angel ornaments

“Bring the Christmas life into our lives…” (Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly)

A Christmas Prayer

Bring the Christmas life into our lives.
Don’t let the hustle-hurry steal our joy
the cashier lineups, traffic jams annoy.
Flood us with peace till Christmas day arrives.

Help us to hear the words of Christmas songs
and let them calm us in the busy throngs.
When beggars hold out hands, help us be wise
to see the poor as Jesus in disguise.

At Christmas feast when some dear ones are missed
help us remember, realize through tears
the treasure they have been to us for years
and through them we continue to be blessed.

Welcome, stunned shepherd and wise man who gives.
Welcome the wonder of a silent night.
Christ child who comes with hope and love and light
please bring Your Christmas life into our lives.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly

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I wrote this poem two years ago, as the grace prayer for our poetry society’s Christmas potluck. It has a mentor poem—Wendy Cope’s “The Christmas Life” which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is stunning in its beauty and simplicity.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Christmas, Poetry Friday, Religious

 

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Advent in poetry

Traditional print "Bringing home the tree" - Artist unknown

“Bringing Home the Tree” – Traditional print from a German storybook: Artist unknown

A few years ago, my friend Laurel realized that Christmas would never be the way she remembered it or the way she was acccustomed to celebrating it. Her two kids (with autism spectrum disorder) couldn’t handle the upheaval and stimuli. The family had to cut way back on decorating, gift-giving, traveling, eating… The story of how she made peace with that reality and still celebrates, only in a different way, is HERE.

One thing Laurel does is observe Advent. On December 1st each year her wonderful blog TOWARD CHRISTMAS gets activated. It becomes a tool to help not only her but all who read, to focus on the themes and deep meanings of Christmas.

This year she invited me to play along with her and her writers guild. We’re following the story of Jesus’ incarnation through Jesse Tree readings. Every day a new poem at TOWARD CHRISTMAS!

Why don’t you follow along?

Update on Thursday. We’ve seen some fine poems so far. I love the prose poem “Creation” by Denice Bezoplenko that appeared yesterday. It begins:

cre·a·tion /krē ā SH(e)n/ noun  1Affection, brooding; Divine Intent, hovering, subtly, over earth, air, fire, and water, sun, moon, stars, and dust.  2. Word, wooing elements into a slow dance.  3. Love, drawn to our dark matter (who knows why?), finding home in us, loving the place, lighting it up; becoming the soft animal, intimately curled, putting the coffee on… ” read entire…

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Though Laurel’s experience isn’t part of my spiritual journey, in a way it is. For we’ve all come across adversity which brings us to a fork in the road. We can wallow in self-pity and bitterness, or choose to make something good of our less-than-perfect situation.

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Christmas, Poems by others, Writing

 

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Bells Across the Snow

Snowy park bench

Scene from our morning walk, December 2013. (Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly)

Bells Across the Snow

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain!
There’s a minor in the carol
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath tonight.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.”

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
‘Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing,
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow,
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.”

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee,
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good will,
With holy songs of glory.
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the “bells across the snow.”

– Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)

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This lovely poem is part of the reading for December 24th in the classic devotional, Streams in the Desert. As I read it this morning, I thought of my friend whose husband died a week ago yesterday.

I wish her, and all who hear that “minor in the carol,” those “holy songs of glory” because of the hope that Jesus’ coming to earth brought.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Christmas, Public Domain, Religious

 

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