Christmas 2018

Today the Virgin gives birth to him
who is above all being
and the earth offers a cave to him
whom no one can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory,
and magi journey with a star,
for to us there has been born
a little Child, God before the ages.

Prelude to the Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ
St. Romanos the Melodist (6th Century CE)

On this day in 1878: Noël, Countess of Rothes, philanthropist, social leader and heroine of Titanic disaster was born.

Christmas Eve 2018

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60: 1-3 (NIV)

Text: Johann Rist 1641 – Translation John Troutbeck 1873
Music: Johann Schop 1641 – Arrangement Johann Sebastian Bach 1734

On this day in 1814: Representatives of Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

Lunedi Lunacy

Well the reason for the season is only a week away and a faithful reader had noted that there had yet to be an appearance by our favourite pair of socks here at WillyHeOrWontHe:  The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.  So say no more! Say no more!  A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse!

Sounds a bit like erecting the tree at our place – oh for god’s sake grow up!

And you know that “Vixen” is highly suspect – female deer only have antlers if they have a higher-than-normal testosterone levels.  And even then there’s a good chance they would never completely harden.  Oh for heavens sake! I said grow up!

On this day in 1655: the Whitehall Conference ends with the determination that there was no law preventing Jews from re-entering England after the Edict of Expulsion of 1290.


Peace For A Time

Christmas 1914

The candle for the Second Sunday of Advent is the Peace candle.  In the past few years what became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914  has been the topic of  songs, movies, documentaries and an opera.  It is a moving and strange moment of peace in the midst of what was to be five years of hell.  There were Christmas truces in 1915 and a few in 1916 but as the war dragged on and death tools mounted the bitterness and hatred won the day.

Peter Capaldi reads this letter from December 24, 1914:

All the movies, music, documents and stories I have read did not prepared me for this.  Dare we even pray for “peace for our time”?

I realize this clip is not a short one but please take the time to play it all.

On this day in 1911:  Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India.

A Loving Father

Throwback Thursday – a day late.

Yesterday my friend Debra, over at She Who Seeks, posted a slightly tongue-in-cheek tribute to a player in the pageant that is Christmas, who is often overlooked in all the carry-on:  Saint Joseph.  I’ve always had a soft-spot for the good saint and on a trip to Ariccia discovered a lovely painting, a copy of which now figures amongst the art work in our home. In the spirit of the season I thought I’d share it once again.

Willy Or Won't He

Though the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia is filled with many wonders, I think the most wonderful is this simple painting by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. And the subject is not all that common – the normal devotional painting is Madonna with Child but here the infant Christ is held by his Earthly father San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph).

It was executed in 1623 for the chapel of the Palazzo and is one of Bernini’s rare paintings. And it is the only known work actually signed by the artist. All religious significance aside I find it an incredible vision of paternal love.

11 lulgio – San Benedetto da Norcia

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