Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Christmas Garland – VII: 31 December 2014

‘So now the new messiah’s ours to take’, thought Joseph as he paid out with delight two turtle doves for Mary’s cleansing rite. He joins his waiting wife and son; they make a rough line for the gate but have to brake, an old man blocks the path, his eyes alight. ‘Oh Lord let me […]

A Christmas Garland – 6: 30 December 2014

And like the angels they have hope of glory, however dimly glory’s understood: the hope the child will live for Israel’s good, and living bring completion to the story, (that’s only half-believed, so old and hoary), begun when God and Abraham both stood outside his leathern house by Mamre’s wood and gazed at countless stars […]

A Christmas Garland – V: 29 December 2014

With happy prospect of a holy night the shepherds watch the glistening angels glide away then slither down the mountainside and through the sleeping streets to get a sight of their true ruler and the world’s new light. Yet in their minds two different thoughts collide; the infant and messiah must elide and merge to […]

A Christmas Garland – 4: 28 December 2014

If she had known the outcome of submission and acted on that knowledge and withdrawn consent, what would have happened to that dawn of glory and to Gabriel’s commission? Was all contingent on the angel’s mission? Was there a chance no saviour would be born and humankind left hopeless and forlorn, in unredeemed and separate […]

A Christmas Garland – 3: 27 December 2014

She took the gift of world-redeeming boy and sought Elizabeth and Zechariah (now six months dumb because of angels ire). Her cousin’s infant prophet leapt for joy, within her womb his gift had found employ as ripples of the spirit stirred his fire. The quickening made Elizabeth enquire: what was this that her baby could […]

A Christmas Garland – 2: 26 December 2014

The proclamation of the incarnate word, if it had been for me to organise, I would have had a myriad angels rise on wings out-glowing every gaudy bird. In temple, fort and palace they’d be heard. They’d hover over Caesar and advise the worship of the one, the true, the wise. My plan as foolish […]

A Christmas Garland – 1: 25 December

Were there reporters clumped, but each alone, pronouncing felted fragments as the news, each nagging passing staff for interviews then standing solemn with the microphone; who knew that on the hour they had to hone their flakes of dull to crisply-angled news (that need not be correct but must amuse) on when there’d be a […]

Beautifully rime

So. Back from a couple of Carol Services and time for a few reflections on Christmas carols. I’m a little worried this might come across as unseasonal and grumpy (Scrooge rather than Grinch), but as I’m standing there singing I can’t help paying attention to the words. And what words there are. Let’s start with […]

Sondheim on Smaug

So. Still with Stephen Sondheim (at least as a jumping off point). The story of A Little Night Music (p282 of the UK edition of Finishing the Hat) was suggested by Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night. After the success of the musical Sondheim was approached by Bergman who wanted to collaborate on […]