Santa’s Family Tree in Pictures

Santa Claus has an old and lively family. Like all families, it is filled with stories, but here I want to focus on the images before the stories. Following multiple branches through time is not easy to represent, and I’ve opted to move first down a secondary branch from Odin to Santa Claus and thenContinue reading “Santa’s Family Tree in Pictures”

If you would find the newborn king

From the sermons of Meister Eckhart. Sermon One (Pf 1, Q 101, QT 57): Here, in time, we are celebrating the eternal birth which God the Father bore and bears unceasingly in eternity, because this same birth is now born in time, in human nature. St. Augustine says, ‘What does it avail me that this birthContinue reading “If you would find the newborn king”

she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire

God’s Mother was born today, the first of the twelve great feasts in the church year. These poor thoughts rattled around in my mind over the last few days, so I set them down. Those familiar with the feasts connected to Mary’s life will see that my words are just clumsy responses to three ofContinue reading “she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire”

the Magi worship

Stichera from the Vespers of the Nativity (Translated by Fr. Seraphim Dedes): What shall we offer you, O Christ, because You have appeared on earth as a man for our sakes? For each of the creatures made by You offers You its thanks: the Angels, their hymn; the heavens, the Star; the Shepherds, their wonder;Continue reading “the Magi worship”

Advent Reading of George MacDonald’s Lilith

George MacDonald’s Lilith is almost entirely populated by mothers and children. Therefore, it was natural to think often of Mary and her child while washing dishes and listening to Lilith during this Advent season. (I used an audio recording made by Pete Williams for LibriVox supplemented by occasional references to a free text download from Project Gutenberg.) Lilith: A Romance wasContinue reading “Advent Reading of George MacDonald’s Lilith”

we are meeting Christ in Bethlehem today

From Words for Our Time: The Spiritual Words of Matthew the Poor (The Nativity of Our Lord, 1974): God proclaimed something on Christmas Day which neither narrative nor history itself can fully contain. …We can say that Christ’s birth is above time; and so we cannot deal with it as just a record with historicalContinue reading “we are meeting Christ in Bethlehem today”

he again becomes a child in the womb of our soul

Jesus the Christ who was born in the flesh once for all of us, desires to be born again in the spirit in those who desire Him. In each of us, he again becomes a child in the womb of our soul and forms himself from the virtues. He reveals as much of Himself asContinue reading “he again becomes a child in the womb of our soul”

he is curtailed who overflowed all skies

Mary’s Song by Luci Shaw: Blue homespun and the bend of my breast keep warm this small hot naked star fallen to my arms. (Rest… you who have had so far to come.) Now nearness satisfies the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps whose eyelids have notContinue reading “he is curtailed who overflowed all skies”

we have found joy in secret

Bethlehem has opened Eden: come, and let us see. We have found joy in secret: come, and let us take possession of the paradise that is within the Cave. There the unwatered Root has appeared, from which forgiveness flowers forth: there is found the undug Well, whence David longed to drink of old. There theContinue reading “we have found joy in secret”

doth seek now with tears thy help to worship

So much to ponder in these ancient hymns of the Orthodox Church. I’m particularly struck by the repeated consideration given near the end of this hymn to the danger and difficulty of responding aloud to God’s revelation of Himself with “well-balanced songs of praise.” (Purchase an MP3 recording of this here, and see more ancientContinue reading “doth seek now with tears thy help to worship”