Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Rejoice in Christ's Birth Throughout the Twelve Days, December 25 - January 6. Here are some scenes from Saint Bartholomew's, taken over the past week.

I finally had the driveway and parking lot plowed on Dec. 27, and the snow is melting. It's wonderful to hear the sound of dripping!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The weather sure can change everything here. In one week, I went from a teaching/preaching/visiting/choir-training/administrative-task-completing, parish priest, to ... [quite simply] ... a snow-shoveling parish priest. Each successive snow storm has come through and blasted our area, adding new layers. The snow shovel and I have become very well acquainted. I shovel the snow for the sakes of whomever might show up at Church, first of all so they can get up the driveway, and secondly so they don't have to tramp through snow drifts from the car to the Church. As it turns out, there have been very few, hardy souls, to take advantage of my new line of work. We just don't deal with snow that well here in Seattle, and most people stay home except for pressing emergencies. On a positive note, we did not get the horrendous windstorm that was being forecast last evening. Had the storm come to fruition, there would have been days & days of no power, lights or heat, as the Fir Trees toppled onto power lines everywhere throughout the region.

Would someone please "upload me" to Hawaii, right now?
Family Photo
This photo was part of an Advent project undertaken by Bill and Nancy. They have been working to take shots of every household during Coffee Hour, and to put them up on the "Our Parish Family" Bulletin Board in the Narthex. The photos we did have were out of date. Hopefully these new photos will help newcomers get to know names/faces in our Parish more readily. What you see here is (left to right) myself, Mary Eve & Danny (standing on the piano bench), and Josephine holding Gloria Christi. (...and, uh, Gloria reaching out for Mary.) I think these are going to be made available to the families, as prints.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It gets very dark in the Pacific NW during Winter! By this time of year, it starts getting dark around 4pm and stays dark until around 7am: that's 15 hours of darkness, and 9 hours of wan, horizontal sunlight, each day. Most days the little sunlight we receive has to pierce a cloud layer, and then penetrate the long shadows of the Douglas Firs and Cedars. It is beautiful here, don't get me wrong, but the darkness can get to you, especially if you've lived in California for 5 years before moving here, as I did!
This year, however, I gained a new appreciation for the dark : it is absolutely perfect for Christmas lighting displays! The lights look so beautiful and cheerful, glowing in the inky blackness. I felt inspired to go to Target and purchase some lights for our family. It was a big source of excitement for the children that day, and it still as, as we plug in the lights each evening.
One house in my neighborhood is particularly brilliant and well-covered with lights and displays of various kinds. I look forward to driving by every evening, and getting inspired by the Season. By the way, I've learned in the course of my studies that the word "NOEL" is an old French word (not a modern French word, but an old French word) meaning "news". The "news" is of course the "good news" that the angels sang over the hills of Bethlehem (You know, as in the carol, "The first nowell, the angel did say..."). So, NOEL is actually a synonym to GOSPEL, for both refer to the Good News of Christ's Incarnation.
Advent Series
Each Advent Season, I select a book for parishioners to read as they prepare to celebrate Christmas. This year it is Advent and Christmas Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton. This book is published by The Center for the Study of C. S. Lewis and Friends. It is divided into a course of daily readings and prayers for Advent and Christmastide. Each day the reader is provided with a quotation from Chesterton, a corresponding verse of Scripture, a prayer written for the day, and an "Advent Action" (which is something to do or to think about).

On Wednesday evenings we meet at Church for 6:30 Evensong, Supper and a Discussion of the daily readings. I typically begin the discussion with a short presentation. The first was on Chesterton himself and the second on his close associate, Hillaire Belloc. For the second year in a row, N. J. has prepared a delicious soup & salad supper : the supper alone makes it worth being there! It has been very gratifying to have a good group of parishioners participate. Even though they have full days during this busy holiday season, they have graciously made time to gather at the Church for these Advent evenings. I hope the whole experience will be of value in helping prepare them for Christmas, and to deepen their faith!