Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Returns

About Those Candles

I forgot to mention it last week, but each of the candles in a traditional Advent wreath has a name and its own unique symbolic meaning.

Last Sunday we lit the Prophecy Candle, as a reminder that the coming of the Christ Child has been foretold, and that God's promise will soon be fulfilled.

Today, the second Sunday of Advent, we light the Bethlehem Candle, symbolic of the preparations we make for the Christ Child's arrival.

Win Some, Lose Some

Yesterday's college football results were something of a mixed bag for me, emotionally...

No. 19 Navy was the only one of my own rooting interests who played, losing to Temple 34-10 in a mild upset in the championship game of the American Athletic Conference.

We'll find out later today which bowl game the 9-3 Midshipmen
will play in, but they've had a fine season to date and next week's traditional Army-Navy game
should be quite a tussle.

As Navy did in their game, my best friend Skip's No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions fell behind early, trailing No. 6 Wisconsin by as many as 21 in the Big Ten Conference Championship Game before roaring back to claim the title with a wild, pulse-pounding 38-31 win.

The Nittany Lions are most likely headed to the Rose Bowl after their fine 11-2 season.

"You don't think he'll mind PSU getting left out of the playoff?"

Not really, no...Skip loves the Rose Bowl...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

"Long time, no see!"

The loss of foliage and the colder temperatures have meant an uptick in the number of customers I see
on a daily basis at the B&B.

I was a bit surprised this morning on my way to Mass when I spotted a mourning dove on the patio all by himself. I haven't seen any of his species around for several weeks, but I guess they haven't migrated anywhere for the winter...

All are welcome at the B&B, of course, but if these guys are still around I'll need to make sure there are things they like to eat on the regular menu.

"You know those things are just rats with wings, right?"

You've been talking to Skip again, I see...

Trump Bullies Everybody

From the pen of Henry Payne, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

During Advent most of the music we hear during Sunday Mass at St. Peter's is hymns and songs traditionally associated with that season. One of the best known of these is
"O Come O Come Emmanuel," which happened to be our entrance hymn at 8:00 Mass this morning. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the years, including some lovely instrumental versions. I happen to especially enjoy renditions by choirs and other choral ensembles.

One joy of the Christmas season is renewing my enthusiasm for the music of the San Francisco-based men's a cappella ensemble Chanticleer. They have released several Christmas albums over the years, and this time of year they all get regular listens in my seasonal iTunes playlists.

In 1994 the group released  
Our Heart's Joy: A Chanticleer Christmas. It was the second of their many Christmas albums, and included material from their first, which had a Renaissance focus.

One of the joys of a Chanticleer recording is their skillful arranging of traditional songs and hymns in ways which make those beloved favorites seem new somehow. No one else interprets this material in quite the same way, which makes these guys a musical treasure.

Today's send-off is the 2004 remaster of the group's gorgeous and heartfelt arrangement of "O Come O Come Emmanuel," from their YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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