Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me. . . . .

I have had this recurring fantasy lately where I become a fabulously sucsessful chef for some form of obscure European royalty and prepare a feast themed on the twelve days of christmas complete with the french hens, five donut rings, six geese, roasted of course, seven swans (how does one cook a swan?) a huge cake topped with marzipan drummers, maids, ladies, and lords.

Then of course I come back to the first Christmas and how it was an event which was surrounded by the most abject poverty. Of course the irony is that twelve days later come the kings who bring the costliest of gifts. Of course Chesterton reminds us that the learned wealthy men come later, it being the poor who make it there first. It is of course easiest for the humble shepherd to greet the infant. Still the point is, the magi DO make it there and there is a little room for a little excess, a bit of opulence in honor of the king who was been born.

I have fallen in love with paper crafts this Christmas and we even made a star mobile out of the gold cardboard that our Christmas Eve smoked salmon came in. The girls and I also decorated our upstairs windows with lots of paper snowflakes and chains. It certainly makes the winter seem much less dreary!

Friday, December 25, 2009

THe Christ is Born!!!

Buon Natale! Christmas has begun!

I am so stuffed with duck l'orange and panetone and cranberry relish and chocolate and wine I think I won't eat for three days and the girls are finally asleep after spending the day playing really hard all day long stopping only for crackers and cheese and the occasional peice of chocolate.

May the peace of the Christ child come into the hearts of all men this Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Advent is such a wonderful season. My evenings have been very full of the thousands of little Christmas projects that I have taken on myself. Of course very few of them have been accomplished. I am endeavoring to do some spiritual reading this Advent and have been reading Fulton J. Sheen. I think in the past I sort of wrote him off as a pious fifties bishop who would be very dry. Well I have eaten every one of my words because he is wonderfully fantastic. I am struck with how the plight of the poor is a huge theme of his. I keep trying to think of ways that we could be more aware of how all those below the thirteenth parallel live. One thing I have been realizing is how often I just buy something because I can, not because I need too, This is not a huge immoral thing to do but perhaps not very in solidarity with the poor. Of course the horrid thing is given our past experience at being employed by a non-profit I am somewhat mistrustful of organizations that give your money to the folk below the border. I know there are good organizations out there but the research is overwhelming. Of course there is the isolation and poverty of spirit to be ministered to here in the first world. And of course the poor are always with us. They just get food stamps and a welfare check in our country. Does that really exempt us though?

Of course probably the poor folk in the nursing homes are the most obvious outcasts of our society. Angelica's little Flowers group met at the nursing home this past week to sing to the elderly. The man at the home told us we were the first children they let in to see the old folks this year on account of the swine flu. They said yes to us because we were homeschoolers and probably wern't exposed.

This is a good time of year to think about the poor. . Fulton J. Sheen says that if you want to see what life is like for a poor person from India just eat one bowl of rice and a small bit of fish a day for your food ration. Wow. There is some food for thought too. I keep looking at our pig scrap pile and realizing how these hogs eat better than many people. Ugh, I roll up my sleeves and resolve to waste less, consume less, and look to the coming celebration with a mind to thankfulness for all the beautiful things that surround us at the feast of Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009