We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, December 2. 2007
Prepare ye the way for the Lord! Advent is back. It always seems to come at exactly the right time, when I need it most.
For me, Advent is the Joy Time, and Lent is the Serious Time. (Easter is its own thing entirely, usually culminating in an excessive brunch with wine after church, followed by a decadent nap due to an infusion of carbs rather than an infusion of the Holy Spirit).
Many of us at Maggie's Farm measure the beat of our inner lives more by the church cycle than anything else. Hunting season is great, fireplace-and-book season is fine, boating season is great, trout season is wonderful, but Advent, like Lent, takes me out of The Circle Game and into another world.
(However, we are not so pure and holy here that we do not dig Santa and gifts and all that. We love Santa, and utterly believe in him. We dig pagan Christmas trees, too.)
Advent, as I experience it, is an annual month-long pregnancy: a chance to deliberately contain and nurture the growth of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Christ, in our hearts. That's the miraculous and mysterious possibility, and every year it is different because we are different and our faith and knowledge are different. Advent is holy, but Christmas is just for fun.
When I was a kid, our Congregational Church had Christmas morning service. That was a good way to begin the day: celebrating a birth is a wonderful thing in itself, but celebrating a holy birth on a frigid snowy morning, with the scent of pine everywhere, and cheery people in overcoats shouting Merry Christmas! across the lawn or parking lot is exhilarating. My church does the usual Christmas Eve candlelight service, which is perfect, which always brings tears, and which I hate to leave, but I could use a Christmas morning service too before the eggnog, feast, and festivities. Preachers tell me that nobody will show up on Christmas morning anymore.
Photo: Out my window today. Black niger seed on the left, seed mix with cracked corn on the right. The tray is not only for the ground birds like the Juncos and doves - it's also to prevent too much seed from falling on the ground and attracting rats. If you have a rat problem, feel free to steal my design. The tray is a Home Depot window screen stuck into a wood frame I cobbled together.
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Birds and squirrels hab the yrd and racoon troop through in the wee hours.
Blessed New Year.
There is no snow here but it's on the Peak, all velvetty.
Before the sun rose Pike's was all velvetty violet just like inside Corpus Christi.
Do the birdies stand on the screen? If so, does that not allow their feces (and seeds) to accumulate below in the frame? Or, is the screen open to the ground below, allowing snow, seeds and poop to fall through? Darn, now I have to think about this, instead of making supper! (Thanks, BD)
1. Yes, I have a metal sheet nailed onto the post.
2. The bird poops wash through the screen when it rains. They do not accumulate.
I have the same feeders, and I'd like to see what difference mounting them on a stand would make; I'll get around to it sometime soon.
The post on Advent and Christmas brought up fond memories of beautiful music at local churches. I've been fortunate to have sung The Messiah in a Pentecostal congregation; witnessed breathtaking organ and vocals in a Congregational church; St Patrick's in Manhattan, and of course the majestic spiritual uplift in all of those places near Christmas. I enjoy these posts tremendously, thanks again.
Lovely meditations on the liturgical seasons especially Advent, BD. You seem to have the heart of a child--and that is the prime requirement of Our Lord--for without that childlike heart no adult enters the Kingdom of Heaven.
On another note, I have a very busy feeder, but my spillage is consumed by literally scores of sparrows, mourning doves, and assorted cardinals, jays, starlings, etc. Not to mention resident field mice, chipmunks and squirrels. There are quite meager pickings for any rats so I feel safe that way, although we are also home to opposums, skunks and racoons.
You help me to stay hopeful!
our church(Episcopal Church USA) now says a prayer that begins something like this: "Mother Creator, and Father Tie" it is supposed to replace "Our Father"--The Lord's Prayer. The old music, and prayers are handed out as a reward to us conservatives--if we are really, really good and silent, and generous. I cannot go to my local church on Christmas morning, or the Sunday before and be assured of the traditional Christmas service. It will just be another lecture on why Jesus loved Gays and LEsbians. But, like you I keep the melodies, and the words in my mind and in my heart. And, like you I can hear them when I walk through the seasons. Thank you.
I am C of E and last year I was invited to a Lutheran church for Christmas service. We were harangued from the pulpit by a dreadful Feminist Harpy who deconstructed the Christmas Story and shook the little manger figures in her fists at the children. It was depressingly horrible. She then took several swipes at the President and the war; we didn't even say a prayer for the troops. And I thought the Episcopalians were bad.
Nice snow and bird feeder though!
as Yente said in Fiddler on the Roof, "People! I tell you, if God lived on earth, people would break His windows!"
All the security cameras discourage window breaking.
People go elsewhere to indulge that form of libertarianism.
I learned this weekend from my Baptist pastor, who follows the church calendar, preaching from the Lectionary, etc., that Advent is the beginning of the Christmas year, that we should see it as the first of several steps leading up to Easter. They are not separate events but one narrative.
He also reminded us that The Christ is not "coming" to us, the meaning of the word Advent, but is already here among us. And, in comparison to several of your readers' experiences, he managed to blast both Republicans and Democrats as the Pharisees and Saducees of our day, as John the Baptist did.
As a personal note, in response to one of your commentors, my wife and I joined our church choir this year, singing in the cantata yesterday. We are a ragtag horde of amateurs but some how make music under the leadership of a brilliant director. I think I managed to pronounce "ain-juhls" and "een-egg-shells-is" instead of "gels" and "in" a couple of times, as he instructed. I discovered as if by Divine revelation that my reading glasses are no longer strong enough!
As for the birds, I need to refill my feeders. How about a post on the birds we can expect here in Connecticut this December?
Where is Skookumchuk? I believe they got hit with about 10 inches of snow over the weekend.
Why do pastor feel they have to bring up politics at a church service? At our church ( Wesleyan not lesbian ) moral issues are brought up if they are contained in the message and put in perspective with reference to the Bible. i.e., abortion is against God because and then refer to Biblical passages stating why. No politicians or political parties are spoken about. I think the left uses religion as a tool to gain there own political ends. They don't take Christ or Christianity seriously.
Birds and Christ go together. Just ask St. Francis!
Not to worry - we are always talking about birds here.
buddy--thank you. I am glad he is not having a difficult time Just as long as "Flares" is not a hospital! If, however it is another great website--please forward the info.
some great folks over dere--take a look! "Flares".
"Birds and Christ go together. Just ask St. Francis!"
Just ask Christ. Observe Him as He teaches looking with a wondrous gaze into the sky: "Behold the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them."
"The birds have their nests...."
"Not a sparrow falls...."
Saint Francis of Assisi (today is the Feast of Ft. Francis Xavier) was reputed to have yelled at a flock of birds that was making such a chatter that he could not preach his sermon, "to shut up." Any saint worth his salt has a pretty good temper--otherwise he would not be a siant for learning to control it.
If you have ever heard male robins in the spring an hour or two before sunrise you know the chatter that they can make...while you toss and turn and look at the clock as it moves toward wake up time.
Robins in the early morning have never bothered me. A blessing to me. Barking dogs are another matter.