Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

24 Dec #Peace #AdventWord 2018

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A vision. An aspiration. A promise.

The Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

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To make real that possibility

One hundred years ago
In a war ravaged corner of the world
For a few moments
Short moments
Precious moments
Defiant moments
Sacred moments
Shooting stopped
As guns stood silent,
Warring men
Forced death to take
A brief hiatus as they
Dare to leave the trenches
And enter
No man’s land
Filled with mud and corpses
Wire and blood
And enter
No man’s land
Of peace and
Shared humanity

One hundred years later
We gather to remember,
Sing songs, eat cookies
And though we know the
Undeclared truce failed to hold,
We dare proclaim
Peace is possible
Possible in our cities
Possible in Syria
Possible in South Sudan
Possible in the DRC
Peace is possible
Though violence rages
Though hate shrivels human hearts
Though fear squeezes human souls
We dare proclaim
Peace is possible
And we recommit ourselves
To praying,
Working,
Living
To make real that possibility.

24 December 2014
Bells for Peace
Commemorating the Christmas Truce of World War I
Church of the Covenant
Cleveland, Ohio

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On this night we gather

On this night, as we gather,

bellies spasm with hunger
winter seeps into the bones of people with no homes
thoughts turn to Syria, South Sudan and places between and beyond
people plot violence
children watch parents die of AIDS, wondering when their turn will come
relationships fray and come apart
children and women and men endure abuse
economic uncertainty undoes nations and households
walls divide people from their homes
handguns bark and blood flows
racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, and more
privilege some and crush life from others
drugs surge through veins to allow escape from reality’s pain
death comes calling — sometimes welcome, sometimes not
sorrow and suffering spread around the world
trouble and turmoil touch us all
evil stalks the earth

Yet
in the midst of all that
in the face of all that
in spire of all that
because of all that
on this night,

we gather

to sing and pray;
read ancient words and light candles
as we celebrate again
the birth of a child —
— nothing more and nothing less
than the every day miracle —
except that this child — this Jesus —
tells us
teaches us
shows us
life does not have to be the way it is
but that it can be filled
with
hope and
faith and
grace and
sharing and
commitment and
community and
justice and
righteousness and
well-being and
wholeness and
peace . . .
. . . on earth . . .
. . . for all!

May it be so.

(originally written for Christmas Eve 2003; adapted annually since)

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Filed under Advent, Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Where I will be on Christmas Eve

This year will bring a different type of Christmas Eve. Here’s what is happening:

Soldiers in World War I impulsively laid down their weapons and sang carols together on the battlefield 100 years ago this Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914. In memory of this famous “Christmas Truce,” and in honor of those seeking peace throughout the world, the bells of University Circle’s carillon will join a global musical event by playing the carol best known to English- and German-speaking troops a century ago, “Silent Night,” this Christmas Eve, December 24, 2014, at 7:14 p.m., or 19:14 in military time. The McGaffin Carillon is located at 11205 Euclid Avenue, in the block between Severance Hall and MOCA Cleveland.

All are invited to bundle up and listen to this playing of the carol from the Church of the Covenant lawn and parking area and Case Western Reserve University’s north campus. Members of the Church of the Covenant Choir will lead singing of the carol afterward. From 7:30 to 8 p.m., University Circle Carillonneur George Leggiero will play a recital of other carols mentioned in soldiers’ diaries and letters about the experience. Enjoy cocoa and cookies from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is part of the project “Bells for Peace,” in which carillons throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and elsewhere will play “Silent Night” at 19:14 in their time zones. Leggiero’s 7:30 p.m. recital precedes an 8 p.m. prelude and carol sing and 8:30 p.m. candlelight service at the Church of the Covenant.

The Christmas Truce involved vast portions of the war’s Western Front, including German and Austro-Hungarian troops with British, French, Belgian, and Russian forces. Soldiers on both sides observed an impromtu ceasefire, tentatively emerging from their trenches, singing carols, trading gifts from their care packages, and wishing one another well in the other’s language as best they could, with at least one Christmas day makeshift soccer game documented. Bells for Peace is part of the larger Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project, whose center is the little city of Messines, Belgium, near where a soccer game took place.

See you along the Trail.

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Christmas: Light

Light

24 December 2013
Forest Hills Church (Presbyterian)
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Christmas Eve day visitors 2012

It is always interesting what appears in the back yard in Cleveland Heights at Christmas. It is even more interesting to see what happens on Christmas Eve Day. Two years ago turkeys made themselves at home. Today a foursome treated the yard as their own buffet:

Deer

 

They certainly enjoyed themselves – and we enjoyed watching them.

See you along the Trail.

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P is for Peace

The 2011 college staff flew this flag;

it appeared in a different picture

from an earlier post.

That post focused on the flag;

this one looks at the flag’s message  –

a message for this evening

as we await

tomorrow’s celebration

of the birth of the

Prince of Peace.

15 July 2011

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