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DOWN with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the misletoe ;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box (for show).

The holly hitherto did sway ;
Let box now domineer
Until the dancing Easter day,
Or Easter’s eve appear.

Then youthful box which now hath grace
Your houses to renew ;
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crisped yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside ;
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin
To honour Whitsuntide.

Green rushes, then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house.

Thus times do shift ; each thing his turn does hold ;
New things succeed, as former things grow old.

–Robert Herrick

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Twelfth Night

And now for our traditional posting of  the thoughts of our Christmastide chronicler, Mr. R. Herrick,  on Twelfth Night.  What’s that you say?  We’ve never posted Mr. Herrick’s thoughts  on Twelfth Night before?  What a gap there is between the mind and the fingers!  That must be why, much to my amazement, all the excellent posts I  thought of over Christmas have not magically appeared here.

Ah well no regrets: Mr. Herrick would not approve.  May you all find a bean or a pea in your plum cakes and be free from offense in this glad new year!

The Bean King and Other Revelers in David Teniers the Younger's "On Twelfth Night"

Twelfth Night: Or, King and Queen

Now, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where bean’s the king of the sport here ;
Beside we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here.

Begin then to choose,
This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.

Which known, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake ;
And let not a man then be seen here,
Who unurg’d will not drink
To the base from the brink
A health to the king and queen here.

Next crown a bowl full
With gentle lamb’s wool :
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too ;
And thus ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.

Give then to the king
And queen wassailing :
And though with ale ye be whet here,
Yet part from hence
As free from offence
As when ye innocent met here.

-Robert Herrick

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The donkey was sure he did not have to wait for his days of glory. He was in them. He worked for a carpenter named Joseph in a town called Nazareth. The donkey carried whatever Joseph told him to carry: sacks of cement, baskets of bricks, tall piles of wood. He worked very hard and was VERY busy. He worked and worked for work was all that mattered to the donkey. If he was not working, he was not happy.
The donkey became very mad and sad when Joseph took him away from his work. Joseph was going to a trip with his wife Mary. They would be traveling from Nazareth to a town called Bethlehem. It would take three days. Joseph would walk, but the donkey had to carry Mary.
The donkey did not consider this work. Work was building houses and carrying heavy loads. Mary was certainly not part of a house. She was not even very heavy. “My time is now,” thought the donkey, “and it is being wasted. I should be working, not carrying this nice, but not very heavy, woman. This is not work. How will Joseph know how important I am unless I am working?”
The donkey longed to return back to the glory of his work, but he was stuck carrying Mary. So he carried her and waited.

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Happy New Year

What better time to launch a new blog about celebrating the Christian church year? Today is the first day of the Christian year, which begins with the Advent season. This is the time in which we anticipate the coming of Christ into the world — past, present and future. We remember Jesus’ humble birth in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. We give thanks for His present and continual coming to us through Word and Sacrament. And we look forward with hope and longing to His second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day.

Advent is also that portion of the Christian calendar that puts us most directly at odds with secular society. Liturgical Christians are (supposed to be) in a period of confession and repentance, prayer, fasting, immersion in Scripture, and singing of the O Antiphons and other seasonal hymns. Everyone else is in a frenzied period of shopping, parties and general stress. We begin the Christmas season on Christmas while most everyone else wraps it up that day. So this period of time can be a challenge.

My oldest daughter is two, which means she’s beginning to understand anticipation. To help her prepare for Christmas Day, I ordered a handmade Advent calendar from Etsy seller DabberDoo. While I wait for it, I also picked up the calendar pictured above from my favorite local kitchen store.

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