Thursday, December 13, 2007

And last, but Not Least . . .

Why has "Silent Night" become our most beloved carol? Is it the words -- tender, intimate, gentle? Or the tune -- so peaceful, so memorable, so easy to play or pick out with one hand on the piano?

It is not a joyous, fast-paced carol like Handel's "Joy to the World." Nor theologically-rich like Charles Wesley's "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Nor does it have a complex tune like "Angels We Have Heard on High."

Rather, "Silent Night" is quiet and reflective, calling us to meditate on the scene. It is the ambience conveyed by both the gentle words and melody that create from this carol an oasis of peace.

"All is calm, all is bright."

It calls us to dwell on the Mary and her Child --

"'Round yon Virgin, mother and Child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace."

You feel as the "shepherds quake at the sight." You can imagine as "heavenly hosts sing Alleluia." And you begin to sing "Alleluia to the King" right along with them.

Rays of backlit brilliance highlight many a religious painting, but here the picture of light is painted in words:

"Glories stream from heaven afar...."
"Son of God, love's pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy holy face...."

Just Who is in this manger? What is the significance of this birth? What is Christmas about -- really? Perhaps most of all, "Silent Night" is beloved because it reminds us in its simple, but exceedingly clear way, the truth behind it all -- the truth that changes everything:

"Christ, the Savior is born!"

Sing it again this Christmas and let its gentle peace wash over you and its bold assertion renew your soul.

"Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!
"Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!"
--By Ralph Wilson

More of those beautiful Christmas plant hints:
Christmas Cactus:
  • After the holidays, encourage your cactus to branch out by removing a few sections from each branch of the plant (pinch, or use a sharp knife). (Save these sections and root to propagate new plants).
  • Keep your Christmas cactus in bright light.
  • Can be kept on the dryer side until it begins actively growing again in the spring.
  • Move plants outdoors in summer, but not in bright sunlight or leaves will burn and become permanently discolored.
  • In the fall, slowly adjust the plant to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend inside.
  • Once inside, keep them in a cool spot (50 degrees).
  • Around mid to late October, begin giving them at least 12 hours of complete darkness every day while keeping them in a cool location.
  • Once the flower buds set, do not move the plants, or buds will fall off.

Tomorrow! An interview with Sharlene MacClaren! Read on to find out more about this amazing woman:

About Little Hickman Creek: Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, and Courting Emma are the three titles in this series. Each story depicts life in the late 1800s in the town of Little Hickman, Kentucky, an earthy, unsophisticated farming community nestled amongst Kentucky’s rich green grasses and mossy hillsides. This actual town operated its own post office from 1867 to 1912. Today it is a small but thriving community in Jessamine County. Known for its creek, which swells to river proportions in heavy rains and shrinks to a mere stream in dryer times it will be the catalyst by which several fictional characters emerge.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. --Norman Vincent Peale


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