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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Celebrate CHRISTmas

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From the Gospel of Luke:
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
May we ponder in our hearts the Gift freely given that Holy Night in Bethlehem.

[Scroll down to the post below this one for additional Christmas music]


  1. Thank you, AOW for this generous outpouring of Christmas joy and beauty.

    At our annual high school Christmas Concert we used to read both this passage from St. Luke and the parallel passage from St. Matthew about the Birth of Our Lord. Students competed for the opportunity to read from the Gospels, and those chosen were carefully and lovingly coached by our wonderful Speech Dramatics teacher. This practice had been an annual tradition at our school since its inception in the nineteenth century.

    We had many Jewish students, and many of them who were musically inclined eagerly competed for a place in our choir, AND for the chance to read from the Gospels. There was never the faintest hint of an objection from anyone about this.

    EVERYONE joined in the Spirit of the Occasion with thanks and gladness. I believe most of the Jewish parents regarded our (very excellent) music program as a fine adjunct to their children's education in History, Art and Culture.

    In those lovely bygone days virtually everyone regarded this event as as worthy CULTURAL endeavor, which it certainly was.

    We only sang music of the highest quality spanning eight hundred years.

    I thank God for having had the privilege of enjoying this experience. Along with the equally fine music programs at TWO churches I attended simultaneously (a long story! ;-), exposure to this kind of thing has shaped and nourished my entire life. I wish everyone could experience music at this high a level early on. I believe it is MUCH more powerful than most presume.

    The really good stuff cannot help but have a subtle TONIC EFFECT on all who hear it, whether they are fully aware of it or not.


    1. FT,
      What is Christmas without fine music?

      I am certainly not the advanced musician that you are, but I cannot abide Christmas without the sacred music. Today I will listen to Welcome All Wonders several times. Having worked under the baton of Richard Wayne Dirksen, that particular work holds special meaning for me.

      Most important, of course, is the reading of the Original Christmas Story.


  2. Our dinner plans for Christmas Eve fell through -- the host and hostess being as sick as dogs with two viruses: stomach flu and upper respiratory misery. Neither Mr. AOW nor I can take the chance of picking up a virus.

    Therefore, Christmas Eve 2013 has been the first Christmas Eve that my dearest cousin (the hostess) and I have been apart since 1967, the year that she was born -- and the least hustle-bustle Christmas Eve of our lives.

    But the host, my cousin's husband (an inactive Marine) made a run to Honey Baked Ham and delivered our Christmas Eve dinner -- standing way back and passing the bags to me at arm's length! Mr. AOW and I enjoyed the meal by candlelight, and the cats got more than their fair share. They adore ham.

    After dark fell, Mr. AOW and I headed out into the van to see some Christmas lights; I had Christmas CD's playing on the van's wonderful stereo system. The Latinos in a nearby subdivision really deck out their houses in fine style! Some grinch on the little lane was honking at all the slow-moving traffic. In the spirit of Christmas, I pulled over and let him pass.

    Once Mr. AOW and I returned home, we phoned Warren and had a good long chat. His wife Jackie wasn't up to speaking by phone last night, making this the first Christmas in a long time that we haven't heard her voice as part of our Christmas celebration.

    Last night, we gave the kitties their Christmas Eve presents -- toys, of course. They wore themselves out playing and tossing. Amber, being the youngest, was tossing her feather toy some 4 feet up into the air. Hilarious!

    This morning, I opened some presents from various people: a gorgeous sweater jacket and scarf from one of my clients (Later today, I'll be wearing these items to lunch at our former neighbors' house), and a collection of photos from a dear friend (one of the photos being a photo of my mother and, therefore, a treasure).

    We have a busy day ahead. As I mentioned, we're off to lunch at our former neighbors' house, and the trip is some 45 minutes long and way west of here in this brutal cold. After we stuff ourselves (standing rib roast, we hope), we plan to stop for a visit at another house. Good thing that Christmas Eve 2013 was a day of rest, or we wouldn't be up to all today's activities!

    And Tammy Swofford arrives tomorrow morning for a visit of a few days.

    All in all, a wonderful Christmas 2013.

    "God bless us, every one!"

  3. All the best to you and Mr. AOW! Have a very Merry Christmas! Sorry to hear of your change in plans, but sounds like you indeed "made do."!

  4. Christmas isn't complete without kitties (at Adrienne's site). If you're a cat lover, Adrienne's post will make you smile, I'm sure.

  5. Have a wonderful day AOW. May the New Year be a healthy one for you and Mr. AOW

    Right Truth

  6. Merry Christmas! See you in less than 24 hours!



    1. We may have a funeral to attend while you are visiting. A good friend passed away yesterday.

      On your last visit, we had a funeral to attend. Both times, these were veterans (the first, WW2; the second, Vietnam).

  7. The best to you and family on this special day, And a happy New Year with many to follow.

  8. Merry Christmas, a Blessed New Year to all! And GOD bless us, everyone!!!
    HUGGLES(and safe travel!)



    This blog will return to political blogging tomorrow -- albeit on a reduced schedule because out-of-town company is arriving this morning.

  10. I can't wait, I'm kind of all Christmased out.

    1. A political post tomorrow, then Nincompoopery on Saturday.

  11. Nincompoopery either Day is fine as long as you do it.

  12. We want more Nincompoopery That's the best subject .

  13. I for one really like the Nincompoopery blog, it helps to get a lot off of our chests. In fact i would like to see it there every week.

    1. I almost always have a "Nincompoopery" post on Saturdays. These particular blog posts seem to be of interest to many of the readers here.

      Tomorrow's "Nincompoopery" post is a bit shorter than usual because of all the hustle-bustle of the holiday and the out-of-town company that is visiting the AOW household. However, readers can post links in the comments section.

  14. Hey, there's tmw! Nice to see her on the blogs :-)
    I'm glad you've had what sounds like a wonderful two days or so...I hope lunch was that roast you were counting on!
    I'm a day late, but I do wish Mr and Mrs AOW and all the commenters here a VERY Merry Christmas season! Z

    1. Z,
      Thank you.

      We did get the roast at the feast -- along with delicious gravy that only our host knows how to make. And asparagus, too. My favorite green vegetable is asparagus, and I gobble it down without any sauce.

      Now we have out-of-town company for a few days. Tomorrow, we may go downtown to the Smithsonian -- if we learn that there is a specific exhibit that we want to see.

      TMW is lurking a bit here in the blogosphere from time to time. She's too busy with her job and her newly-acquired kitty to have time to play around on the web.


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