Silver Stars: An Epiphany Story

Xmas Star 2015

There is a street I pass on my daily commute called Tanglewilde.  I’ve never driven down it, but the name pretty well describes my home life for the past half-year.

Things got dicey on Memorial Day when the rain came down in such torrents that the street in front of my house became a river.  Around midnight I noticed a shallow puddle spreading across my living room floor from under the baseboard. I stayed up most of the night, sponge in hand, defending my house from water intrusion.  I thanked my lucky stars that I had decided to purchase flood insurance the previous summer. Continue reading

A Great and Paradoxical Wonder

Rembrandt, The Angel Appears to the Shepherds, Pen and brush, 1640-42

Rembrandt, The Angel Appears to the Shepherds, Pen and brush, 1640-42

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “A Great and Mighty Wonder.” It’s sung to the tune “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” (“Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming”) although the words to the latter hymn originated much later than those of “A Great and Mighty Wonder.” The earlier hymn is derived from a Greek text attributed to St. Germanus I of Constantinople (ca. 634-740) or to St. Anatolius of Constantinople (5th c.): “Μέγα καί παράδοξον θαῦμα,” or, transliterated, “Mega kai paradoxon thauma.” The full text is below, but it’s that third word, paradoxon, which interests me most, and which unfortunately has been replaced by the rather dull word “mighty” in John M. Neale’s 1862 English translation.

I’m not a theologian or a Greek scholar, but I know a little about paradox. As a rhetorical term, it indicates a turn to the unexpected. It’s not a logical contradiction, but an apparent contradiction. Not an inconsistency, but a seeming incongruity. If there’s something truly contrarian in a paradox, it’s a truth contrary to received opinion, not to possibility or reason.

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How to Get a Cow to Cross a Bridge in the Himalayas

As they say, “you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”.  Previously, I wrote to you about The Long Road to Rodeo with my steer Sebastian.  Let me now share an intercultural cow story.

In the early 1990’s my husband and I traveled in Nepal for six weeks.  While we spent a lot of time in Kathmandu and Pokhra seeing all of the sights, we were young and ready to hike in the Himalayas. Continue reading

No, Emilie, There is no Santa Clause….

christmas_eveMy eight-year-old son, Nathaniel, still believes in Santa.  When he talks about Santa, he jumps up and down in small bursts of energy that he can’t contain.  The other day I caught him looking up the chimney, trying to figure out how a fat man with a large sack of gifts could possibly get through such a small space.  We also have to leave the requisite cookies and milk out for Santa when he comes.  And maybe a few carrots in the yard for the reindeer.

Nathaniel’s belief in Santa doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it’s beautiful.  Imagine a world where a little eight-year-old boy still has the innocence to believe that a benevolent, overgrown elf flies around the world on Christmas eve delivering presents to good little boys and girls.  It’s magical.  And I love that about Nathaniel.  He has a wonderful imagination.  He loves stories about knights, dragons, wizards, Jedi, and ninja.  Santa is just part of that magical world he believes in.   I know it won’t last.

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