Sunday, December 13, 2015


Third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday, or Joy Sunday. It is on this day that the Advent spirit of anticipation and preparation (including penance) is
set aside as we revel in the joy and gladness of the impending birth of Jesus.

The candle for Gaudete Sunday is called the Shepherd's Candle, after
the shepherds to whom the angels appeared to herald the coming of the Christ Child. Instead of lavender or purple, the Shepherd's Candle is traditionally a pink or rose color.

Christmas Movies & TV Shows

It is traditional for American television shows to acknowledge the Christmas season with holiday-themed episodes (even though the actual "Christmas" episodes are often filmed in July). And, traditionally, these are often my least favorite episodes of my favorite shows, as they typically descend into secular banalities.

The political drama The West Wing was an exception to this rule. I enjoyed every Christmas (and Thanksgiving) episode for its seven-season run. My favorite Christmas episode was "Bartlet for America," the ninth episode of the show's third season.

I had been introduced to the show by my late best friend Matt, and we often discussed how the relationships among some of the show's characters mirrored our own friendship. The epitome of this was a scene near the end of "Bartlet for America," a scene that could reduce both Matt and me to blubbering wrecks.

The President's Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, played by the late John Spencer, returns to his office late on Christmas Eve after spending the day at a grueling congressional hearing over a matter that could force him to resign. His best friend, who also happens to be the President of the United States, Jed Bartlet (portrayed by Martin Sheen), is waiting for him there. And, after a bit of their characteristic banter, the President gives his friend a Christmas gift.

When McGarry first approached Bartlet to run for president years before, he had closed his pitch by giving Bartlet a cocktail napkin on which he had hand-written the slogan "Bartlet for America"...

I know you do, old friend...

Tough Loss

My Army Black Knights lost to Navy 21-17 yesterday in the annual Army-Navy Game. It was a disappointing loss, as Army led for much of the game, and had numerous opportunities to take the lead in the 4th quarter. They simply turned the ball over too many times in Navy territory.

In yesterday's post I mentioned that Navy was sporting snazzy new helmets for the game which featured various naval warships. At the time I wrote that item, I didn't know that the Black Knights would also be wearing special helmets for the game. Here's what Army's helmets looked like...

Congratulations to both teams for a hard-fought, clean game, one of the best I've seen this college football season. A real barn burner!

Always Remember

Until Next Time...

What better song with which to celebrate Joy Sunday than the traditional English hymn "Joy to the World"? The early 18th-century lyrics by the prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts were inspired by Psalm 98, and in 1839 the American composer Lowell Mason put the hymn to music he based on a melody by George Handel. The result is one of the most beloved of all Christmas hymns and carols. According to one reputable source, it is the most-published hymn in North America, and by a wide margin.

Today's send-off is a moving live performance of the hymn by singer-songwriter David Archuleta, accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square. The arrangement is by composer Sam Cardon, and it was recorded in December 2010 at the famous LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Enjoy...and if you do, consider buying Glad Christmas Tidings, the DVD of that concert...

No comments:

Post a Comment