Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christians Awake! Salute the Happy Morn

This hymn, written by John By­rom, in 1745 as a Christmas gift to his daughter, Dolly, isn't sung in our churches as often as "Joy to the World" for example, but it is a wonderful salute to Christmas morning.  Enjoy.

Christians Awake
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
Whereon the Savior of the world was born.
Rise to adore the mystery of love
Which hosts of angels chanted from above,
With them the joyful tidings first begun
Of God incarnate and the virgin’s Son.

Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
Who heard th’angelic herald’s voice, “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Savior’s birth
To you and all the nations of the earth;
This day hath God fulfilled His promised Word;
This day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord.”

He spoke; and straightaway the celestial choir
In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire;
The praises of redeeming love they sang,
And Heav’n’s whole orb with alleluias rang.
God’s highest glory was their anthem still
Peace on the earth and unto men good wil

To Bethl’hem straight th’enlightened shepherds ran
To see the wonder God had wrought for man
And found, with Joseph and the bless├Ęd maid,
Her Son, the Savior, in a manger laid;
Then to their flocks, still praising God, return,
And their glad hearts with holy rapture burn.

Like Mary let us ponder in our mind
God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind!
Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
From His poor manger to His bitter cross,
Tread in His steps, assisted by His grace,
Till man’s first heav’nly state again takes place.

Then may we hope, th’angelic hosts among,
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song.
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display.
Saved by His love, incessantly we sing
Eternal praise to Heav’n’s almighty King.

To hear the tune Yorkshire
click here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday School Pageant

Back stage excitement
    One can predict that sometime in December, the Sunday School will present the Christmas pageant.   One cannot predict what will happen once the child actors take the stage, and that is the charm of the Christmas pageant. 

 We had angels

The holy family


and some very active sheep


There were Kings, and do I see Hoshmakaka making a return visit?

The Bethlehem stable as seen by the children of SPPC in 2011

There's more.  Dec. 18 was a very busy Sunday for this church.  During the fellowship hour, Peter Walden read an abridged version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol 

While willing helpers sorted through the white gift offerings and packed Christmas hampers.  Remember those craft nights?  Each of the hampers contained an ornament handmade on those two Fridays.

During advent, we have lit candles for love, joy, peace and hope.  Here we see those prayers in action.  Come see for yourselves. Join us for candlelight and carols Dec. 24 at 7:00 pm.  Proclaim with us, the Birth of Christ on Christmas morning at 10:00am. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Last Straw

  This year's Christmas play was fraught with one mishap after another.  The dancer sprained her ankle in the dress rehearsal, the lighting tech discovered he'd double-booked himself.  Leave from work was cancelled.  Illness robbed us of voices.  And finally, our accompanist took sick and had to miss the show.  As one of the cast remarked, this show shouldn't have been called "The Last Straw".  It should have been named "The Last Man Standing."
  But stand we did, with what turned out to be an audience pleaser.

Three Kings

The Wind calls Hoshmakaka

Hoshmakaka accepts the challenge

The crowds gather

The gifts keep piling on

                                                  and on

We approach the Manger

One More Gift!

The last straw breaks the camel's back

A Miracle --Christ Heals Hoshmakaka

We celebrate a successful production

We enjoy a reception

Helpers and guests

And in the end we collected $500.00 for the Sidney Food bank.
Merry Christmas, everyone, from the Living Flame Choir.

And here's the final instalment from our traveller.  

Thank you all for your replies and for listening to me ramble on about my trip. It has helped me feel connected to Canada and home each time I sit down to write about my adventures. Many of you have mentioned that you feel a trip like this can change a person and I believe you are right. I am looking forward to my life at home and wondering how I will approach things differently.

The last week has been a different one as we are staying in Kathmandu with nothing to do but shop and relax. On Sunday Marjorie and I went to the International Christian church for a wonderful multicultural service. There was a refugee couple who were married, both of their families had been murdered and they had fled to Nepal for safety. They became Christians while being helped by the people and Kathmandu so the church was their family, it was a very moving ceremony. They had a wedding lunch after so we were part of that. It was a great day.  On the walk home Marjorie and I stopped for coffee at a high end hotel and a cup of brewed coffee has never tasted so go

The next day I was hit by a bug and was down for 2 days. It was more like a flu than "the Other" so I spent the time in bed drinking fluids and sleeping. Then when we started to get in the sight seeing mode the city is being hit by bundha's or strikes. Yesterday they were roving ones so we tried to go out with a taxi but could get no where so the driver had to bring us back to the
hotel. You know it is bad when they give up a fare. So we spent the day sitting in the garden drinking tea, enjoying the sun as I know we will be back to winter. Today we are going to walk to the old palace which has been turned into a museum.  We leave tomorrow and fly to Incheon Korea.

 Linda arrived home on Dec. 10, too late to attend the Christmas Play, but she was in church on Sunday morning, shivering with cold.  I'm so glad to have her safely back with us and look forward to hearing about her adventures in person.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Behind the Scenes

   Those of you who come to the Christmas Play on Dec. 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm (notice how I slipped that little promo in there?) will see the finished performance on stage.  What you won't see are all the behind the scenes preparations that have taken place over the past six months. 

Things like writing the play.

Sewing the costumes.

 sets and props.

Organizing the lights.

Turning the sanctuary into Bethlehem.

Creating a poster and program cover.   By the way, that's Bill Richer, winner of the Presbyterian Record cover art contest.  Now the rest of the church knows what we've known all along.  Bill is an artist par excellence.

Not to mention practice every Sunday since the middle of September.
The Christmas Musical is an offering of love and dedication from the cast and crew.   Come and enjoy.

The latest from Nepal:
Today was an auspicious day! ! We finally saw the mountains and they are fantastic. I know it is hard to believe you can be in Nepal for 5 weeks and not see the mountains, but the weather has been against us. When we first arrived it was very foggy. So much so that many people who had come to trek Everest could not fly to the trail head. We met many disappointed people and I am not sure if they ever got to the mountains as we left for Bhratpur. While at the hospital once again the weather was misty and we got the odd mountain glimpse. But today made up for it all. We got up at 5am and drove to Sarangot and sat and watched the sun rise over the Annapurna Range. We were awed, the view changed constantly as the sun rose. Pictures can not capture the magnificence of it all so you will all have to make a trip to Nepal.

Yesterday was also a great day. We did our own little trek. Today our muscles feel like it was a major trek! We first went to Devi falls which is this place where a river goes under ground and there is a resulting gorge, then we were taken to a cave, where the river runs into. It was wet and dark and so interesting. I had to touch the rocks to make sure they were real as we are so used to seeing the Disney version of such works of mother nature. Then it was off to a Tibetan refugee camp and yes we are all the proud owners of some carpets. You actually see them weaving, carding the wool and dying it as well.
Then the trek. We wanted to see the Peace Pagoda which is up this small (by Nepal standards) hill. The road was washed out so our taxi driver left us off to walk the rest of the way. Well a group of children on a field trip passed us and got to the top about a half hour before us. Then we decided we would hike down the mountain, on this path, it went through the jungle and it took us an hour to get down. On the way we met some Nepali women cutting feed for their animals , they were at least 10 years older than us, in bare feet, carrying over 50lbs of feed on their backs and they didn't even break a sweat. Humbling to say the least. When we got to the bottom of the hill in one piece, we rented a boat to take us across the lake to Pohkara. For some of us this will be a once in a life time hike, I am game to try it again!

Pohkara is a wonderful place, the restaurants are amazing, they all have happy hours which we take advantage of and the food is a nice change from rice and lentils, our diet for the last 3 weeks. Much shopping and the prices are so reasonable. Tonight we are going to the Everest Steak house and we are going to have beef. To date any red meat we have eaten has been water buffalo. There is also hot water in our hotel and we have been enjoying very long showers in the morning and sometimes at night too.

Back to Kathmandu tomorrow. We have hired a car so it will be a 5 hour trip.  Home a week tomorrow.