Rabbit Trails Third Thursday in December

A post from the past…
Links to articles that I’ve found compelling, convicting, or convivial, favorite quotes, a little food, a little music, a beautiful painting; here are just a few rabbit trails to follow…

First –  Every December the reading public is treated to weeks of “the year in review” type posts.  In one such article, Biggest Pinocchios of 2015, published by the liberal DC paper Washington Post, the writers and editors failed to notice the Post’s own excruciatingly long nose earned by publishing lies and obfuscation regarding the events called Ferguson over the course of the year. Colin Flaherty reveals the hypocrisy in his post Biggest Liar of 2015: The Washington Post and its Pinocchios writing at the conservative blog American Thinker.

The Post, of course, was an early and gleeful adopter of the narrative of the unarmed black person shot for no reason whatsoever by racist police in Ferguson who apparently did that kind of thing all the time.

This Lie infected more than just miles and miles of newsprint in the hard news sections. It was also reported and spread in the sports, lifestyle, opinion, entertainment, and virtually every other nook and cranny of the Post — even after the attorney general grudgingly admitted the entire thing was a hoax in March of this year.

Second –  A German grocery store chain, Edeka, produced a famous ad in 2015 that reveals our 21st century culture of busy-ness and the distance of families from one another, and perhaps unintentionally, the grace of forgiveness and the joy of restoration.

A British department store, John Lewis, the same produced an ad along similar themes, The Man in the Moon, addressing the epidemic of loneliness in our more-connected-than-ever culture.

Third –  The most beautiful Advent hymn ever is the ethereal Veni Veni Emmanuel. Glenn Sunshine (great name isn’t it?) at the Colson Center wrote a brief guide Advent Through the Ages: The O Antiphons  which explains the how the hymn was used, and includes the Scripture Readings, the original text in Latin, as well as the translation. I urge you to click over and print it out. We will be working that into our family prayer time here at The Garner’s. And, have a listen to this gorgeous recording that includes all of the verses.

“God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” John Wesley

Fourth –  I ran into this problem first in my former church (UMC)  – the idea that praying is not doing something. To think that, is to ignore or forget the great I AM to whom we pray, to say nothing of ignoring the teaching of a key founder. It’s one of several reasons we left the church, and the denomination. So when I see lefty churches promoting the idea that prayer is ineffective, it’s just a matter of time before synonymous lefty atheists promulgate it through their belligerent social media posts. John Grondelski writing at Crisis Magazine breaks down the politics of dissing prayer (and therefore, God) in his article, Growing Opposition to Prayer in Public Life.  He also makes the following point:

Whatever one personally thinks of prayer, members of a truly civil society would recognize and respect the meaning and significance of prayer in the lives of at least some of its members. The sincerity of the one who prays is not subject to another’s evaluation… 

To impugn that sincerity can mean three things. It means putting one’s self in God’s place as he who hears prayer and judges the uprightness of the heart of him who prays; putting one’s self over God by deciding whether or how God has or should answer that prayer; and/or displacing God by deciding that prayer is meaningless. The problem is: no human being has any right to assume any of those positions.

Fifth – For some people, Christmas smells like chocolate.  For me, the scent of Christmas is a whiff of warm spice ~ cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger and peppercorn. My favorite Christmas cookies are Molasses Crinkles. My favorite beverage is Hot and Spiced.  It could be apple cider, or wine, or that yummy citrus based Percolator Punch that my mom used to make. I thought of Mom’s punch this morning when I opened a Constant Comment Tea Bag. The spiced citrus fragrance made me so happy that I fiercely encouraged everyone in the family to have a sniff of the tea bag. They indulged me. There are several recipes for Percolator Punch. They all involve some combination of juices: cider, cranberry and pineapple, with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, sometimes whole allspice and peppercorns and a small amount of brown sugar in the basket. Epicurus offers this one. Mom and I also used to enjoy making Instant Russian Tea with Tang (remember that!?) and instant tea mix and sugar and ground spices. Wives with Knives offers a recipe and some fun 1960’s beverage trivia.

Sixth – This year we will have a Full Cold Moon on Christmas for the first time since 1977! It should be quite beautiful just after 6 am. Pour a steaming cup of hot coffee (or percolator punch), grab a blanket to snuggle up in and go outside and look up at the moon, at whatever stars remain, at the Lord’s handiwork. Then go inside and celebrate the birth of your Messiah.

Finally – The “featured image” on this post is a detail of the Portinari Altarpiece entitled Mary and Joseph on the Way to Bethlehem by Hugo van der Goes, a Flemish 15th century painter. The work is one of The 10 Best Christmas Story Paintings, according to UK Observer art critic and author Laura Cumming. I liked it because it is an Advent painting – a waiting, journeying, uncomfortably great with child painting – and I love the tender care that Joseph is taking of Mary. Give yourself a visual treat by clicking the link and touring these ten masterful paintings, by different artists, in different styles, that so beautifully illustrate the Christmas story.

Thank you for stopping by Garner Goings On ~   


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