The older brother sat listening to younger brother. He'd been fly-fishing in the St. George River after wading hip deep in snow to get there. Fire in firebox.
A plane flies from Africa with young child and father to new room in New England house. Czechoslovakia, Holland, Iran and France by way of Canada and United States comes this sweet young Guinean-American girl to a festive house.
When I say there is nothing outside,Three Stolen bake in upstairs oven. Sour cream apple coffee cake being prepared by Saskia. We linger at the shop. Feels like Christmas Eve. It's not. It's the first day of winter. Light has taken a stand. Stopped downhill roll and stood still, then turned. Yes. Time to ascend. Once more to the climb. First, though, to gather gear and plot a course. Last night light remembered its source.
Students who do not understand me
Interpret this in terms of inwardness,
So they sit silent and still,
Taking this to be Zen Buddhism.
This is a big mistake.
If you take a state of unmoving clarity to be Zen,
You are recognizing ignorance as a slave master.
- Linji (d. 867)
We observe the Feast of Solstice Night. This great night was for a thousand years the night we observed the Great Feast of Christmas.Garrison Keillor cheers us again, this time from Bethlehem Pennsylvania. His ersatz gospel of ordinary touch, good humor, and memorable images drifting into recollection.
Then when Pope Gregory reformed the calendar in the 16th century - every day on the calendar slipped three days earlier. In the revised calendar, Solstice was now the night of the 21st rather than the 25th.
This put Christendom in a quandary. What to do with the date of Christmas - should it be changed to the 21st or left on its traditional day of the 25th.
After great theological debate - an answer arrived.
Solstice literally means 'sun stand still.' To the naked eye one cannot see the light of the sun increasing until three mornings after Solstice night.
That was the answer. On the third morning after Solstice - the earth and all people of the Northern Hemisphere rejoice - for we now experience light re-born!
(--from A Christmas Message from Alexander J. Shaia, of The Journey of Quadratos)
Jesus Christ, although he shared God’s nature, did not try to seize equality with God for himself; but emptied himself, took on the form of a slave, and became like a man – not in appearance only, for he humbled himself by accepting death – even death on a cross.Christmas is a good time of year. Light and food, reconnection and essential solitude.
For this, God has raised him high, and given him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,
and every tongue will proclaim “Jesus Christ is Lord”, to the glory of God the Father.
(--Philippians 2, from Vespers, Saturday Night)
It is a time of ordinary life experienced in the guise of especial effort and radiance. But it is, really, ordinary life. There's family and celebration of presents. There's the pervasive sense that we are not isolated and at odds, but rather part of a very large truth slowly becoming recognizable.
David Wagoner ends his poem Staying Found with the following lines:
When he stumbled onto the road again, his mindNow.
Had changed. He was no longer lost in the woods
Or in cities as he had always been,
Not knowing it. Now, he would stay found.