Rolling Hills of Mid Devon, England, by Simon Ward.
Showing posts with label Christmas 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas 2012. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Broadcast of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

"I believe from my heart that the cause which binds together my peoples and our gallant and faithful allies is the cause of Christian Civilization."  
King George VI
Broadcasting on December 25, 1939






Monday, December 24, 2012

Preparations

by Anonymous


YET if His Majesty, our sovereign lord,

Should of his own accord
Friendly himself invite,
And say 'I'll be your guest to-morrow night,'
How should we stir ourselves, call and command
All hands to work! 'Let no man idle stand!

'Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall;
See they be fitted all;
Let there be room to eat
And order taken that there want no meat. 
See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light.

'Look to the presence: are the carpets spread,
The dazie o'er the head,
The cushions in the chairs, 
And all the candles lighted on the stairs?
Perfume the chambers, and in any case
Let each man give attendance in his place!'

Thus, if a king were coming, would we do;
And 'twere good reason too; 
For 'tis a duteous thing
To show all honour to an earthly king,
And after all our travail and our cost,
So he be pleased, to think no labour lost.

But at the coming of the King of Heaven 
All 's set at six and seven;
We wallow in our sin,
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.
We entertain Him always like a stranger,
And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger.






Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Past and Christmas Present at King's


Back in 2008, as the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College Cambridge marked its ninetieth birthday, former choir member Brian Kay uncovers the WWI origins of the service and explores its enduring appeal.

Those sharing their memories include former director of music Philip Ledger and organ scholar-turned-conductor Sir Andrew Davis.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pope Benedict Writes Christmas Column for the Financial Times

Pope Benedict has written an op-ed on the spiritual meaning of Christmas for the  December 20 issue of the Financial Times.  It is unprecedented for a Roman Pontiff to write an essay for a secular publication.

Upon releasing a copy of the Holy Father's column, the Vatican Information Service stated:  "The Pope's article for the Financial Times originates from a request from the editorial office of the Financial Times itself which, taking as a cue the recent publication of the Pope's book on Jesus' infancy, asked for his comments on the occasion of Christmas. Despite the unusual nature of the request, the Holy Father accepted willingly.

Pope Benedict previously agreed to be interviewed by the BBC at Christmas following his 2010 visit to the United Kingdom. The full text of the Pope's article follows:

A time for Christians to engage with the world
"'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,' was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes. His questioners, of course, were laying a trap for him. They wanted to force Him to take sides in the highly-charged political debate about Roman rule in the land of Israel. Yet there was more at stake here: if Jesus really was the long-awaited Messiah, then surely He would oppose the Roman overlords. So the question was calculated to expose Him either as a threat to the regime, or a fraud.

"Jesus’ answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicisation of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth. His audience needed to be reminded that the Messiah was not Caesar, and Caesar was not God. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish was of an altogether higher order. As He told Pontius Pilate, 'My kingship is not of this world.'

"The Christmas stories in the New Testament are intended to convey a similar message. Jesus was born during a “census of the whole world” taken by Caesar Augustus, the Emperor renowned for bringing the Pax Romana to all the lands under Roman rule. Yet this infant, born in an obscure and far-flung corner of the Empire, was to offer the world a far greater peace, truly universal in scope and transcending all limitations of space and time.

"Jesus is presented to us as King David’s heir, but the liberation He brought to His people was not about holding hostile armies at bay; it was about conquering sin and death forever.

"The birth of Christ challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life. While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience. At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?

"Christmas can be the time in which we learn to read the Gospel, to get to know Jesus not only as the Child in the manger, but as the one in Whom we recognize God made Man.

"It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs – be it in the Houses of Parliament or the Stock Exchange. Christians shouldn’t shun the world; they should engage with it. But their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.

"Christians fight poverty out of a recognition of the supreme dignity of every human being, created in God’s image and destined for eternal life. Christians work for more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources out of a belief that, as stewards of God’s creation, we have a duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable. Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction that generosity and selfless love, as taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth, are the way that leads to fullness of life. Christian belief in the transcendent destiny of every human being gives urgency to the task of promoting peace and justice for all.

"Because these goals are shared by so many, much fruitful cooperation is possible between Christians and others. Yet Christians render to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar, not what belongs to God. Christians have at times throughout history been unable to comply with demands made by Caesar. From the Emperor cult of ancient Rome to the totalitarian regimes of the last century, Caesar has tried to take the place of God. When Christians refuse to bow down before the false gods proposed today, it is not because of an antiquated world-view. Rather, it is because they are free from the constraints of ideology and inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it.

"In Italy, many crib scenes feature the ruins of ancient Roman buildings in the background. This shows that the birth of the child Jesus marks the end of the old order, the pagan world, in which Caesar’s claims went virtually unchallenged. Now there is a new king, who relies not on the force of arms, but on the power of love. He brings hope to all those who, like himself, live on the margins of society. He brings hope to all who are vulnerable to the changing fortunes of a precarious world. From the manger, Christ calls us to live as citizens of his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that all people of good will can help to build here on earth".






Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pope's Christmas Card



Veritas de terra orta est! (“Truth shall spring out of the earth”). Benedict XVI chose these words  from Psalm 85:12 for this year’s Christmas card, which will be given to the Roman Curia, Vatican employees and all the faithful present at the audiences and celebrations in the upcoming days. The card, produced by the Vatican Printing Press, features the Holy Father’s hand-written message and this painting by Leandro Bassano (1557-1622), entitled: “The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds”, located in the private apartment of the Apostolic Palace. Benedict XVI continues the tradition — began by Paul VI in 1963 — of printing cards for Christmas, Easter and other solemnities with a hand-written phrase taken from Scripture, the Church Fathers or the lectionary with a depiction of the theme of the liturgical feast.