22 December 2019
...no, not the real one, the one we EAT at home. Working around family schedules landed us on Christmas Eve this year. We'll start with appetizers: smoked salmon with a variety of aged cheeses, smoked salami, sautéed shrimp and wines. Main courses are a little excessive (but trying to please the most folks): A goose, a beef tenderloin with hollandaise, and a honey-baked ham. Some rolls and some Yorkshire puddings. Broccoli and mashed potatoes. Dessert will be chocolates, some home made cookies, pecan pie, brownies, coffee and liqueurs. I'm feeling pleasantly stuffed just thinking about it all. The surprise for us was finding out that goose and water fowl in general is to be treated as red meat and not to be overcooked, but eaten medium rare or so. We'll see how that goes!
08 December 2019
01 December 2019
Today brought us the joys of Ad Te Levavi, the first Sunday in Advent. When I walked in I noticed new paraments: a rich royal purple. Turns out they were given in memory of Norma Steinmann, and if you knew Norma, she favored purple or lavender clothes. I think she'd approve. The joys began in earnest with Kantor's playing Bach's Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland. It is the sound of Advent's arrival to me. Nor was that all! We also had the little Bach prelude on Nun Komm for the offering, and the Manz Nun Komm for postlude.
The liturgy during Advent "fasts" from the Greater Gloria (it will be sung again come Christmas Midnight, when first its opening words rang out over the fields of Bethlehem). And with the readings, not long for the first Sunday in Advent, the liturgy seems to hasten toward the Sermon and the Supper.
The hymnody of this day is particularly richly. One barely knows where to begin! Just a handful of the joyous words: "Come, Thy beauty let us see; Anxiously we wait for Thee..." "Here a maid was found with child, Yet remained a virgin mild. In her womb this truth was shown: God was there upon His throne..." "Love caused Your incarnation; Love brought You down to me; Your thirst for my salvation, Procured my liberty. Oh, love beyond all telling, That led You to embrace In love, all loves excelling, Our lost and fallen race..." "A humble beast He rides, Yet as a King presides; Thou not arrayed in splendor, He makes the grave surrender. Hosanna, praise, and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee..." "Soon will come that hour—When with mighty power, Christ will come in splendor And will judgment render, With the faithful sharing Joy beyond comparing."
Pastor gave a deeply fitting homily, summoning us into the joy of repentance and devoting ourselves to the peace that only comes from our gathering in Christ's presence in this world. And of course, like the pilgrims in Jerusalem on the day Christ entered His holy city, we sang our joyous hosannas and knelt before our King who comes to us still in His very body and blood.