A Christmas Carol

A while ago, someone contributed a piece here about music or singing in a choir; I pondered whether I might submit my own attempt at a song one day. Here is that song and its story.

Back in 1992, at the suggestion of a composer friend, I wrote the carol below. The following year, he had set the words to music and led our village choir to sing it during the candlelit village carol service. This year, surprised at how long ago I’d written them, I sent the lyrics to our village newsletter for the December edition. (An acquaintance stopped me in the street the other day to say how much she liked them – that was a treat!)

There are many common themes in the carols of different Christian churches. I’d wanted to get some New Church ideas of what Christmas is about out into my part of the world, so anyone with an open heart might recognize whatever truth I managed to encompass in the words. It needed to be fairly short. It needed to touch on some of those common themes, but in a new way. I wanted to sow little seeds of New Church thought without being obvious about it. And I wanted it to feel positive. So with that in mind, do you think I accomplished what I’d hoped to?

At Christmas, at Christmas do we really know
Why the celebrations give us such a glow?
Can we sense the angels joining earth to heaven?
Have we understood yet why this gift was given?
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas God came to the world.
Quietly, in darkness, wonderment unfurled.
Lowly manger baby, Jesus – gift of gold –
Brought his love to guide us safely to his fold.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas life can start anew
If we change the pattern seen in what we do.
Show good will, and cherish those we come to know.
Nurture love for others – heaven’s peace will grow.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

Mary, Did You Know?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in religion. I was fortunate to have fine ministers sent to Tucson, Arizona, where I grew up: Rev. Harold Cranch, Rev. Douglas Taylor and Rev. Geoffrey Howard. They all taught me, inspired me and answered my questions with serious attention to my growing interest in how to tell others about what we believe in the New Church.

Doug Taylor gave me an answer to people who say they have never heard of my church, or my religion. I say, “Well this is your lucky day!” Later Doug pulled me aside when I was in Bryn Athyn to tell me a new way he explains what the New Church is all about. He said that he quotes John 16, where Jesus says, “I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now … these things I have spoken in parables, but the time will come when I shall no more speak to you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” What if this is what he wanted to tell us! Wouldn’t you want to know what it is?

Recently, I discovered another idea in my random reading that struck me with a new understanding of the First and Second Advents and what the New Church is all about. I can hardly wait to share the idea with a Christian friend, or a New Church comrade, such as a reader of the New Christian Woman posts. God willing, it will enlighten our mutual enjoyment of the coming Christmas season.

Here it is. In a little pamphlet, “The Visible God” by Erik Sandstrom, an explanation of the First Advent and the Second Advent is given that is as simple as it is profound: “Now, the Lord’s advents into the world were modes of His revealing Himself. In His first advent, he took on Flesh, so that he might show Himself among men, and work among them. And in His second advent He caused all that He accomplished while in the Flesh to be described and explained, in order that the glory wherewith He glorified His Human might shine forth. He ever had infinite glory and power. But it is now, in the second advent, that that glory and power have been revealed in fullness.” Continue reading Mary, Did You Know?

Who Am I?

In 1989, due to a decrease in viewers, the British television show Doctor Who was suspended. For those who are unfamiliar with the popular BBC production, the basic idea of the show is that “the Doctor” is a humanoid alien who has a spaceship that can travel through time and space and has a particular liking for earth and its people. He also has the ability to avoid death by “regenerating” into a new body if/when he sustains a deadly injury.

In an attempt to reboot the series, a movie was produced in 1996 featuring a new Doctor that would be the show’s eighth reincarnation. It was a British-American-Canadian production and is notorious for its low quality. It is considered by fans to be a bit of a blemish on the show’s reputation. At the very beginning we see the last doctor of the tv series regenerate into the eighth doctor. It is a very melodramatic and drawn out scene. Upon awakening into the world, the new doctor stumbles around an abandoned hospital in a sheet because… he has amnesia? Finally he dramatically falls to his knees crying out: “WHO AM I?”

I’m sure the directors were trying to depict an emotional moment to pull the old audience into this new imagining of the story, but sadly the only emotion that the scene evokes is laughter. This very long story was all to say that recently I have been thinking of this moment in the movie and been surprised at how much I feel like begging the universe to answer this same query: Who am I? Continue reading Who Am I?

Smile!

“For those who trust in the Divine all things are moving towards an everlasting state of happiness, and no matter what happens at any time to them, it contributes to that state.” Emmanuel Swedenborg

I realised that we, as human beings, all want to be happy, but sometimes striving to find that happiness can be a struggle. Most of the time I find that I’m searching for it in the wrong places or in the wrong way, when the key to finding happiness is much simpler than I think – the Lord. This passage from Psalms says it all for me:

“Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15

The bible guides us to find happiness through God’s word.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Continue reading Smile!