Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent poem

Luci Shaw's advent poem, "Mary's Song":

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 not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves' voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

Encouragement from Spurgeon - Prayer

“Friend, go up higher.”
Luke 14:10

When first the life of grace begins in the soul, we do indeed draw near to God, but it is with great fear and trembling. The soul conscious of guilt, and humbled thereby, is overawed with the solemnity of its position; it is cast to the earth by a sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands. With unfeigned bashfulness it takes the lowest room.

But, in after life, as the Christian grows in grace, although he will never forget the solemnity of his position, and will never lose that holy awe which must encompass a gracious man when he is in the presence of the God who can create or can destroy; yet his fear has all its terror taken out of it; it becomes a holy reverence, and no more an overshadowing dread. He is called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus. Then the man of God, walking amid the splendours of Deity, and veiling his face like the glorious cherubim, with those twin wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, will, reverent and bowed in spirit, approach the throne; and seeing there a God of love, of goodness, and of mercy, he will realize rather the covenant character of God than his absolute Deity. He will see in God rather his goodness than his greatness, and more of his love than of his majesty. Then will the soul, bowing still as humbly as aforetime, enjoy a more sacred liberty of intercession; for while prostrate before the glory of the Infinite God, it will be sustained by the refreshing consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and infinite love, and by the realization of acceptance “in the Beloved.” Thus the believer is bidden to come up higher, and is enabled to exercise the privilege of rejoicing in God, and drawing near to him in holy confidence, saying, “Abba, Father.”

“So may we go from strength to strength,
And daily grow in grace,
Till in thine image raised at length,
We see thee face to face.”
(emphasis added)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cookies

We found a great video about decorating Christmas cookies with royal icing. We tried it today and it worked really well.

I can't figure out how to embed the video so here is the link.

The directions for royal icing on the Chatelaine site are similar to most except they said to beat the icing for 3-7 minutes after adding the icing sugar. This gave a great texture to the icing. Then we added water to adjust how thick it was and decorated our cookies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

4th Sunday of Advent - Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

This is one of my favourite Christmas carols. Like many older hymns, the last verse points us forward.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Two Advent Hymns

I missed last week's Advent hymn so here are two:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wing├Ęd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Soft Gingerbread recipe

I was typing out this recipe for my son (who asked for it!) away at college and thought maybe I would post it here. It's from an old church cookbook on the centennial year of the Knox United Church in Manitowaning, Ontario,in 1962. Manitowaning is on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron - the largest freshwater island in the world! The recipes are handwritten and then mimeographed. Several recipes in the book are from my grandmother and great aunts. This recipe isn't one of them but it's a really good gingerbread. Serve with whipped cream or lemon sauce. Mmm... makes me hungry thinking about it.

Soft Gingerbread Recipe

1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 t. each of ginger, cinnamon and cloves
2 t. of soda dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water
2 1/2 c. flour
Mix together the sugar, molasses and butter. Add the spices to the flour; add to the mix with the water. Add two beaten eggs; mix in well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (check after 25 min - there's no time indicated on the recipe so I'm guessing a little. It will likely be 30-35 min but it depends somewhat on your oven too. Put a knife in and if it comes out clean and the cake springs back when you touch it, it is done.)

There were actually no instructions given other than to add the eggs at the end and no pan size. The detailed instructions are for my son so he'll know when it's done. I have made this in a 9x9 pan but it took a long time and was very high so now I make it in a 9x13 pan.