Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas: The Day That Was In It


 It was, as Nero Wolfe would have put it, satisfactory*.

Midnight Mass --  at 7 p.m. rather than midnight.  But that has been rather common in southern California for a few years, with or without the Wuhan Devil  And as it was outdoors  (thank you, Governor Nuisance)  so the weather, albeit chilly, was probably more comfortable than whatever the temperature was at midnight.  After the five or six month sacramental hiatus at the beginning of the year, the liturgical surroundings almost don't matter.  The hunger for the sacraments makes outdoors on a business office patio beautiful.

Today our cousin came by for Christmas dinner and good talk.   No turkey this year but the roast beef of old England, which, I'm told, is an even more ancient custom for Christmas dinner than the turkey or even the goose.  And there was pie and ice cream.  And Christmas cookies (thank you, Ann).  And canoli.   And something else which I didn't quite catch the name of but I think is Greek.

(*For those not familiar with the corpus, "satisfactory" is Mr Wolfe's highest praise.)

(And, no, I don't know how or why the line spacing in the first two paragraphs changed. Mysterious are the ways of Blogspot its wonders to perform.)

Stuff I Didn't Know

Found in my email in-box this morning:

 Myrrh is resin, extracted from small, thorny trees in the Commiphora genus, that was historically used as a perfume, incense, and medicine.

I'd give you a direct link to click on but it was an email.  You might find it here if you search more diligently than I did.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Music

 KUSC has a streaming Christmas music channel that is well-worth your time.  Lots of Handel and Bach, a bit of Samuel Webb and not a Jingle Bell Rock rendition to be found.

You can access it here.

Don't know if they play any of Perlseer Dirndl.  If not, here's a touch of their seasonal music:

Saturn & Jupiter at Arms Length

Um, no, not the Roman gods.  The planets of the same names.  And not really arms length.  But they'll look really, really close if you cast your gaze in their direction this evening about an hour after sunset.  Closer than they've looked in about 800 years, so they tell me.  Pope Honorius III could've seen this very thing if he'd strolled out to the Vatican gardens before Compline and had a look at the night sky.

The NASA video below will help you find it yourself if you've a mind to find a seat in the garden before Compline.

(No, I don't know if the Vatican actually had a garden in 1220 a.d.  It certainly should have had one.  Would've done everyone a world of good after a hard day planning crusades.)

ADDENDUM: 21 December 2020 at 6:04 p.m. PST  Contrary to expectation I remembered to have a look and just did.   Only have a pair of binoculars so no Saturn rings or Jupiter moons.  But quite a good view of the planets themselves.  Fortunately they were not too low on the horizon.  Things are built-up hereabouts but not, D.g., that built-up.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Something More Than Usually Relevant from Evensong This Evening

 "This, first of all, I ask; that petition, prayer, entreaty and thanksgiving should be offered for all mankind, especially for kings and others in high station, so that we can live a calm and tranquil life, as dutifully and decently as we may."  1Timothy 2:1-2


Sunday, December 06, 2020

St Nicholas, Bishop & Confessor

Not only is it the second Sunday of Advent, but it's the feast of St Nicholas, hence the best St Nicholas carol ever composed posted above.  ("Jolly Old St Nick", pfui.)

O, who loves Nicholas the saintly.

O, who serves Nicholas the saintly.

Him will Nicholas receive

And give help in time of need

Holy Father Nicholas!

O, who dwells in God's holy mansions

Is our help on the land and oceans

He will guard us from all ills

Keep us pure and free from sins

Holy Father Nicholas!

Holy saint, hearken to our prayer

Let not life drive us to despair

All our efforts shall not wane

Singing praises to thy name

Holy Father Nicholas!

The traditional collect for his feast day goes right to the point.  No beating around the bush with St Nicholas.  Herewith the old Stanbrook Abbey translation:

O God, who didst glorify the blessed Bishop Nicholas with numberless miracles ; grant we beseech Thee that by his merits and prayers we may be saved from the fires of hell.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

The Anglican Ordinariate translation gets the point across with "the fires of everlasting torment".  Alas, the poor old Bugninian rite can't bring itself to mention the place.