Excerpt from a poem read months ago.
Excerpt from a poem read months ago.
Since it’s 6°F outside, thought I’d share this wonderful painting.
Christmas Eve by John Everett Millais, 1887:
Christmas Eve by John Everett Millais, 1887
Since the tradition curating advent poems was started a few years ago, I found this story particularly interesting.
 Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry), December 13, 2012, https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2012/12/13/2013-advent-poems-or-the-12-days-of-christmas-poetry/.
 Justin Taylor, “THE TRUE STORY OF PAIN AND HOPE BEHIND “I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY”,” http://www.thegospelcoalition.org, December 21, 2014, accessed December 11, 2016 https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2014/12/21/the-story-of-pain-and-hope-behind-i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/.
The winter is cold, is cold.
All’s spent in keeping warm.
Has joy been frozen, too?
I blow upon my hands
Stiff from the biting wind.
My heart beats slow, beats slow.
What has become of joy?
If joy’s gone from my heart
Then it is closed to You
Who made it, gave it life.
If I protect myself
I’m hiding, Lord, from you.
How we defend ourselves
In ancient suits of mail!
Protected from the sword,
Shrinking from the wound,
We look for happiness,
Small, safety-seeking, dulled,
Selfish, exclusive, in-turned.
Elusive, evasive, peace comes
Only when it’s not sought.
Help me forget the cold
That grips the grasping world.
Let me stretch out my hands
To purifying fire,
Clutching fingers uncurled.
Look! Here is the melting joy.
My heart beats once again.
This audio podcast features the poem “The Winter Is Cold, Is Cold” by Madeleine L’Engle and concludes with a selection from the Book of Common Prayer that is often read on Christmas Day.
Enter “how to tame the email dragon” in the Google search engine and about 2,300,000 results are available (in 0.50 seconds).
The average length of an email is 50-100 words. Most emails are longer.
You spend at least 13 hours a week at the office reading and replying to emails.
That is 650 hours a year!
It takes 12 to 13 hours to read John Updike’s Rabbit, Run.
Or (for non-readers) that is equivalent to a ten-episode Game of Thrones binge watching marathon.
Most full-time employees work 1700 hours per year. That means nearly 40 percent of your work life is engaged in reading and replying to emails.
 The Muse, Are Your Emails Too Long? (Hint: Probably), Forbes, March 11, 2014, accessed December 18, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/03/11/are-your-emails-too-long-hint-probably/#7e9f22965400
 Jordan Weissmann, Re:Re:Fw:Re: Workers Spend 650 Hours a Year on Email, The Atlantic, JUL 28, 2012, accessed December 18, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/re-re-fw-re-workers-spend-650-hours-a-year-on-email/260447/
 Megan Garber, You Probably Write a Novel’s Worth of Email Every Year, The Atlantic, JAN 8, 2013, accessed December 18, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/01/you-probably-write-a-novels-worth-of-email-every-year/266942/
 Joe Weisenthal, Check Out How Much The Average American Works Each Year Compared To The French, The Germans, And The Koreans, Business Insider, Aug. 17, 2013, accessed December 18, 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/average-annual-hours-worked-for-americans-vs-the-rest-of-the-world-2013-8
No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God- for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.
Also, special thanks to Folk Angel for permission to use “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” from their album Glad Tidings – Christmas Songs, Vol. 4. If you are looking for some great Christmas records, check out their website, FolkAngel.com.
When I saw Christmas decorations and trees begin to populate Milwaukee’s Cathedral Square Park as early as November 1st, I thought, Is it that time of year already? Unbelievable. With this weekend’s snowfall, the Cathedral Square Park’s decorated Christmas trees looks particularly Decemberish.
Earlier this month I searched online for some Christmas card ideas. Imagine my surprise when the search displayed a block print I created five years ago.
It seems so long ago and so far away. So much has happened in those few short years that it is difficult to catalog. Curiously, I clicked in the Pinterest link. Then I read the original blog post. It is the most visited post on the blog.
For the last few years, I have received modest feedback on a post I published titled “Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry).” The most intriguing comment regarded a poem by W. S. Beattie. I could not locate the poem online. And the mystery of it excited me. Are there really poems people read that are not on the internet? I thought to myself. A lovely thought.
This year, a digital trail lead me to a PDF file posted by the Brentwood United Reformed Church. Here is the poem recommended by a reader with the preface that the poem’s topic regards the misuse of Advent.
by W.S. Beattie
These are the greedy days.
It used to be
That Advent was a longing fast,
A time to feel our need
in faith and tingling hope
And keen-eyed looking forward.
Now we cannot wait
But day by day and week by week
We celebrate obsessively
Clutching at Christmas.
When at last it comes,
The day itself,
Our glass is empty.
We have held the feast
Already, and the news is stale
Before it ever reaches us.
We cheat ourselves.
Yet – somehow – still we hope
In these spoiled days
That there may be a child.
It is a humble poem with a good reminder.
Another reader suggested the inclusion of T. S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi.”
And yet another reader pointed me in the direction of Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (CCCA) The Advent Project. I truly enjoy CCCA’s Advent project as it includes art, literature, music and video.
I need to revisit my “12 Days of Christmas” poetry list. Maybe next year it will expand to a “24 Days of Advent” poetry list. For now, please enjoy reading 12 days of Christmas poems.
 Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry) https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2012/12/13/2013-advent-poems-or-the-12-days-of-christmas-poetry/
 Brentwood United Reformed Church, The Courier, December 2014/January 2015. Accessed December 11, 2017. http://www.brentwood-urc.org.uk/The%20COURIER%20-%20Dec%20January%202015.pdf
 The Poetry Archive, T. S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi,” accessed December 11, 2017. https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/journey-magi
 Biola University, Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (CCCA), The Advent Project, accessed December 11, 2017. http://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2017/#day-dec-7
Discovered these old sketch books in September. Looked at them. Placed them on a shelf. Lost them again.
Rediscovered the sketch books again this weekend. Marveled at how much time was invested. Considered how these books were populated with sketches of classmates, drawings of roommates and other ephemera in a place and time were smart phones, tablets and laptops were not ubiquitous.
What would you be able to create if you were not glued to your smart phone for more than four hours a day?
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
This audio podcast features “Mosaic of the Nativity (Serbia, Winter 1993)” by Jane Kenyon, “Nativity” by John Donne, “A Christmas Carol” by Christina Georgina Rossetti and a selection from the Book of Common Prayer.
Special thanks to Folk Angel for permission to use “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from their album Comfort & Joy – Christmas Songs, Vol. 3. If you are looking for some great Christmas records, check out their website, FolkAngel.com.