Sunday, December 21, 2008

And all was for and apple, an apple that she took . . .

After church today I was reminded of a 15th century English carol I first heard about 25 years ago called "Adam lay y-bounden."

Some of the folks were decorating the parish hall, what I call the church's living room, in preparation for this week and all the activities that will go on there. One of my dear friends was placing shiney, red plastic apples on the mantel above the fireplace and I remembered that carol. It's about the fall from grace and the need for salvation caused by an apple.

"And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As cleckes finden writtein in their book."

In Medieval and Renaissance art there was a parallel drawn between Adam/Christ and Eve/Mary. One of my most favorite Romanesque sculpture pieces is an Eve figure from the lintel of the cathedral at Autun in France. Eve looks forward with a tear in her eye, while reaching back and taking an apple from a branch held up to her by an evil, clawed hand. The Adam is missing, so we don't know exactly what the whole compostition looked like. I find it quite moving, all the same.

I created an interpretation of the beautiful sculpture in a small wall quilt which includes the snake instead of the clawed hand.

"Ne had the apple taken been, the apple taken been,
Ne had never our Savior, our Redeemer abeen."

Do you have a favorite carol? Does it bring about special memories?
Enjoy the seasons and the memories it brings you and yours.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Soon, . . . very soon. . . .

In less than a week all the colorful paper and ribbons will be swept away and the sounds of happy people will fill our homes. Christmas is coming soon . . . very soon!

My brother called with an invitation to "A Christmas Carol" and I'm looking forward to it. He and I grew up with Mr. Ebeneezer Scrooge. My dad still isn't too keen on exchanging gifts, but will pass on little pictures of Ben Franklin in crisp white envelops.

My dear husband and I don't decorate our house (too cluttered already) and we don't put up a tree. For us, this is the Season of Advent, the anticipation of Christmas, Christ's first coming and the expectation of the Second.

With Christmas Eve and the delightful children's pagent followed by the beautiful music of the "midnight mass" we usher in Christmas -- after everyone else is "over it".

Our families and our culture have forgotten how to look deeply into the quiet, still manger and celebrate the baby's coming after his arrival. It's like throwing party after party for weeks and months before the baby arrives and then tossing all the cool stuff out to the curb once he gets here. It's anti-climactic.

And the Twelve Days of Christmas are not a count down to Christmas day, but a count of the twelve short days of the "Liturgical Christmas Season" between Christmas Day and January 6th, Epiphany -- the day the Magi arrived to worship the child.

Somebody stop me, I'm feeling a bit of Scrooge coming on!

At any rate, I've been making lovely jewelry pieces to sell and to give to my family and friends. (It makes me happy to be able to make someone else happy too, after all.) I like to think of the little baubles as tiny Christmas ornaments my friends and family will wear and enjoy throughout the year.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm getting in the Holiday Spirit now . . . 'bout time!

It's blisteringly cold and only a week until Christmas. All the tests have been graded and the grades have been sent in. I've made some lovely jewelry pieces and have some happy customers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In the thick of it

I haven't posted for a while because I'm, as the title says, "in the thick of it". I gave and exam today and while doing so, had a strange encounter with a stranger fellow who asked me if I was God or Mohammad. Since I'm neither, I told him to go away. You had to be there.

I've been working on my textbook e-book and I'm quite behind. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday fielding question from student who took the exam Wednesday. I must have answered the same question a hundred time. "Read the email I just sent out -- it gives all the directions!" Actually I answered with more charity, but BOY was I exasperated!

Late Tuesday afternoon and into the early evening, I did some work in my sewing studio. I made a mitre for Bishop St. Nicholas (d. Dec.6th 346) who visited the children at our Church Wednesday evening. The miter matches the chasuble my husband's assistant uses when she celebrates the eucharist".

Wednesday evening I also shared with the children the stories and legends of the good bishop who later became a saint and patron of children and young people, sailors, pawnbrokers, and much more. The Christmas stocking association comes from one of his early acts of generosity: he overheard a father tell his grown daughters he couldn't afford a dowary for them (which would surely have lead to prostition or the nunnery) and secretly tossed three small bags of gold through the window or down the chimney to save them from such a fate. The bags landed in the stocking drying by the fire.

This weekend is going to be really busy too. This time of the year is always a whirlwind in a clergy household.

Tomorrow is all about the e-book. I better get crackin'