Christmas Eve

Christmas Blessings to all.

Song of Simeon

Yesterday was the first Sunday after Christmas. Christmas 1 is one of the few times in the course of the year, perhaps the only time, in the Episcopal Church when the Gospel reading varies from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The Episcopal Church reads the prologue to John all three years. In Year A, the year of Matthew, the RCL reading is the story of the flight into Egypt. In year C, the year of Luke, the reading is the story of the boy Jesus at the temple. This year, Year B, the year of Mark, the reading is the Song of Simeon and the story of Anna. I love that passage. It is about two elderly people, one a man and the other a woman, who have spent their lives in the service of God. They are rewarded by seeing the Messiah as an infant. The passage always brings a tear to my eye.

Simeon’s words are well known:

quoteMaster, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

The Song of Simeon has been put to music many times, in some beautiful settings. Please enjoy one of them.

Happy Christmas!

Christmas joy to you and yours!

holiday wishes

This showed up on Facebook a while back courtesy of my friend Annalee. I thought it appropriate today with the beginning of Hanukkah.

The original had some text at the bottom which I think detracted from the message. The diagram delivers the complete message on its own.

Click on the image for the full-size version.

And scroll down beneath the diagram for Peter, Paul and Mary’s marvelous “Light One Candle.”


changing traditions successfully

This was the year for doing things differently during the holidays for Terry and me.

After Thanksgiving I wrote about how a comment on NPR to the effect of “cranberry sauce is easy” motivated me to make my own after many decades of Ocean Spray, going back to my youngest childhood days. The recipe from Giada was superb. I did the same recipe for Christmas with full confidence.

Speaking of confidence, I wrote last week that Terry and I decided to change our Christmas tradition this year by cooking prime rib. We were both a bit nervous as we hade never made prime rib before, and it’s not something that you want to mess up. I printed out three somewhat variant procedures I found online. I had advice based on years of experience from my friend the Boston Pobble. And we had the flyer printed by our local Rocca’s Market.

When I ordered the prime rib, Mike, our seafood guy at Rocca’s, took my order. For two people he suggested a single rib, so I followed that advice and that’s what I ordered. When I picked up our single rib I was helped by Tom, co-owner of Rocca’s and the guy who runs the meat department. He was a bit concerned because out cut was so small, but gave me some suggestions.

In the end, we let our oven’s probe make the final call, and left it in until it reached the desired temperature. We pulled our prime rib out of the oven, put in a standard meat thermometer, and let it rest for twenty minutes. We had rubbed the meat with a locally made spice rub from Rocca’s.

The result, in a word, was spectacular.

Add rolls made from scratch, home cooked mashed potatoes, and green beans with bacon (another innovation, this one on Terry’s part).

It was a meal that made us stop and think about how much we have to be grateful for. It also reminded us of what the two of us can pull off when we each do our bit.

And our endeavor showed us that change and updating traditions can be a Good Thing.


Secular Music Friday: Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

I’ve loved this Neil Diamond rendition of the John Lennon classic since the first time his Christmas special was broadcast.

Light One Candle

I know that this song is about Hanukkah, and I know that Hanukkah was unusually early this year. But it seems appropriate on this day as we move from the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, to Christmas Day yesterday, as the days start getting longer and we celebrated (and continue to celebrate — Christmas is twelve days) the arrival of the Light.

Besides, it’s simply one of my favorites, and that’s reason enough to share it.