The Season after Christmas

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, AustinThere are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts feel lonely, and we lose courage. In those times, seek the path with light, look to where the skies are full of promise; tune your heart to brave music; find the sense of comradeship with the heroes, saints and saintes of every age; and thereby so quicken your spirit, that you may be able to encourage those who journey with you ... [Augustine (of Hippo)]. -- http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/jod/augustine/textstrans.html

His fame notwithstanding, Augustine appeared to have died a failure. When he was a young man, it was inconceivable that the Pax Romana would fail, but in his last year of life he found himself and his fellow citizens of Hippo under siege laid by an army of invaders, who had swept into Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar. Called Vandals by contemporary writers, the attacking forces comprised a mixed group of “barbarians” and adventurers searching for a home. Hippo fell shortly after Augustine’s death, and Roman Carthage not long after. The Vandals, held to a version of the Christian faith than any of those Augustine had experienced. They would prevail in Africa for only a century, until Roman forces sent from Constantinople invaded again and overthrew them. But Augustine’s legacy in his homeland was terminated with his life. A revival of orthodox Christianity in the 6th century under the patronage of Constantinople thereafter ended in the 7th with the Islamic invasions, which permanently removed North Africa from the sphere of Christian influence until the thin Christianization, now rapidly disappearing, of French colonialism in the 19th century.

The voice of Augustine survived in his books. His habit of cataloging them served his surviving collaborators well. Somehow, essentially the whole of Augustine’s literary oeuvre survived and escaped Africa intact. The story was told that his mortal remains went to Sardinia and thence to Pavia (Italy), where a shrine concentrates reverence on what is said to be those remains. Whatever the truth of the story, some organized withdrawal to Sardinia on the part of Augustine’s followers, bearing his body and his books, is not impossible and remains the best surmise of the fate of his relics. see http://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Augustine

His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine's City of God. In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, and preeminent Doctor of the Church [and of course the patron of the Augustinian Order]. His memorial feast occurs on August 28th, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially those of Calvinist heritage, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=418

Epiphany is the manifestation of God's Glory in human form, the revelation to the Gentiles of His redemptive power. It is the Gentiles in the form of the three Magi (sorcerers practicing the ancient occult practices) and the ceremonial unclean shepherds to whom this is revealed first, along with the Holy family. Traditionally, the prophet's revelation found in Isaiah 60 through 61 would be read at this time, a prophecy connected with the return to Jerusalem from Babylon, but which prophecy was never fully fulfilled at that time:

"Voici mon serviteur, que je soutiendrai, 
Mon élu, en qui mon âme prend plaisir. 
J'ai mis mon esprit sur lui;
Il annoncera la justice aux nations" 
[Ésaïe 42:1 (Louis Segond)].

Alors Jésus vint de la Galilée 
au Jourdain vers Jean, 
pour être baptisé par lui.

Mais Jean s'y opposait, en disant: 
"C'est moi qui ai besoin d'être baptisé par toi,
 et tu viens à moi !"

Jésus lui répondit: 
"Laisse faire maintenant, 
car il est convenable que 
nous accomplissions 
ainsi tout ce qui est juste." 
Et Jean ne lui résista plus.

Dès que Jésus eut été baptisé, il sortit de l'eau. 
Et voici, les cieux s'ouvrirent, 
et Jean vit l'Esprit de Dieu 
descendre comme une colombe et venir sur lui.

Et voici, une voix fit entendre des cieux ces paroles: 
"Celui-ci est mon Fils bien-aimé, 
en qui j'ai mis toute mon affection" 
[Matthieu 3:13-17].
"Here is My Servant, whom I uphold;
Mine Elect, in whom My Soul delights.
I have put my Spirit upon Him;
He will bring justice to the nations"
[Isaiah 42: 1 (NIV)].

Then Jesus came from Galilee 
to the River Jordan unto John, 
to be baptized by him.

But John forbad him, saying, 
"It is not I who have need to be baptized by you, 
and yet you come to me?"

Jesus answered Him, 
"Let it be so [for] now: 
for thus it is fitting for us 
to fulfill all that is right 
[that the scriptures be fulfilled]
and John resisted no more.".

As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went out of the water. 
And behold, the heavens opened, 
and John saw the Spirit of God 
descending like a dove upon him.

And lo a voice from Heaven said, 
"This is my beloved Son, 
in whom I am well pleased" 
[Matthew 3: 13-17].
This is My dear-worthy Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. Matthew 17:5
Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people:
but the LORD shall arise upon thee,
and His Glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
all they gather themselves together,
they come to thee:
thy sons shall come from far,
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together,
and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged
[fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom];
because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee,
the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee,
the dromedaries of Mid'i-an and Ephah;
all they from Sheba shall come:
they shall bring gold and incense;
and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee,
the rams of Nebai'oth shall minister unto thee:
they [Arabia] shall come up with acceptance on My altar
[which previously had been unclean; but now,
through the sacrifice of a contrite heart it is clean],
and and I will adorn My glorious temple {I will glorify the House of My Glory}.
* * *
Surely the isles [Greece] shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish
{a colony of Tyre in Spain where silver and gold were mined}
first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them,
unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel,
because He hath glorified thee.
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually;
they shall not be shut day nor night; [See also Rev. 21:25, 26] ....
Your people also shall all be righteous:
they shall inherit the land for ever.
The branch, of My planting, the work of My hands,
that I may be glorified.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me;
because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek;
He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives and to those in darkness,
the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint to them that mourn in Zion,
to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that He might be glorified [from Isaiah 60-61].

The Birth Revealed

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting [Micah 5:2 (KJV)]. https://bible.org/seriespage/visit-wise-men-matthew-21-12

16-19 Then Jesus came to Nazareth where He had been brought up and, according to His custom, went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read the scriptures; and ,the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book and found the place where these words are written—

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the Gospel to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to preach the acceptable year of the Lord

20-21 Then he shut the book, handed it back to the attendant and resumed his seat. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed upon him and he began to tell them, This very day this scripture has been fulfilled, while you were listening to it!”-- Luke 4:16-21 J.B. Phillips New Testament (a paraphrase)

And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
and out of darkness and obscurity
the eyes of the blind shall see [Isaiah 29:18].

The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear [Isaiah 32:4].

To open the eyes of the blind,
To bring forth from prison the bound one,
From the house of restraint,
those sitting in darkness [Isaiah 42:7].

So, he replied to the messengers
[from John the Baptist},
“Go back and report to John
what you have seen and heard:
The blind receive sight,
the lame walk,
those who have leprosy are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the good news is proclaimed
to the poor" [Luke 7:22].

"Behold My servant, I will uphold Him:
My elect, My soul delighteth in Him:
I have given My spirit upon Him,
He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."
[Isaiah 42: 1 (Douay-Rheims (1899))].

Saw you never, in the twilight,
When the sun had left the skies,
Up in Heav’n the clear stars shining
Through the gloom, like silver eyes?
So of old the wise men, watching,
Saw a little stranger star,
And they knew the King was given,
And they followed it from afar.

[Tune Chartres; Words: trad. Beranger of Tours]
Heard you never of the story
How they crossed the desert wild,
Journeyed on by plain and mountain,
Till they found the holy Child?
How they opened all their treasure,
Kneeling to that infant King;
Gave the gold and fragrant incense,
Gave the myrrh in offering?

Know ye not that lowly Baby
Was the bright and morning Star?
He Who came to light the Gentiles,
And the darkened isles afar?
And we, too, may seek His cradle;
There our hearts’ best treasures bring;
Love, and faith, and true devotion
For our Savior, God and King.

I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me, and He heard my cry. He brought me also out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and ordered my goings. And he hath put in my mouth a new song of praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and regardeth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies [Psalm 40:1-4 (Geneva-1599 ed)].

Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever! As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last, He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh, I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me [Job 19:23-27] !!!

Jeanne d'Arc, Sainte, est née à Domrémy, entre Lorraine et Champagne (Domrémy-la-Pucelle), le 6 janvier 1412. François Villon, né en 1431, l'année même de sa mort, évoqua le souvenir de Jeanne dans la belle Ballade des Dames du temps jadis:

« ... Et Jeanne, la bonne Lorraine
Qu'Anglais brûlèrent à Rouen;
Où sont-ils, où, Vierge souveraine ?
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ? »
And the sweet Joan from Lorraine,
Whom the English burned at Rouen?
Where are they all, Sovereign Lady?
O where are gone the snows of yore?
see also http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_birthday.asp

Isaiah 60:1 -- Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Le Noël orthodoxe en Ukraine

The revealing of the Lion

{Following} after Jehovah they go;
{because} as a lion He roareth,
[and] When He doth roar,
then tremble do the sons from the west
[Hosea 11:10].

Afterward, the Israelites will return and seek
the LORD their God and David their King.
They will come trembling to the LORD
and to his blessings in the last days [Hosea 3:5].

Does a lion roar in the thicket, when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den, when it has caught nothing [Amos 3:4] ?

Yea, saith He, "It is too light a thing
that Thou shouldest be My Servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israël:
I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles [all the Nations],
that Thou mayest be My Salvation
unto the end of the earth [Isaiah 49:6]."

The revealing of the Message to Come

Let me sing now for my well-beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones [Isaiah 5:1-2].

"Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed
How then have you turned yourself before
Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine [Jeremiah 2:21] ?

And when the chamberlain (steward)
tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
(although the servers who had drawn the water knew),
the steward called the groom and said to him,
"[Sir, E]veryone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now [John 2:9-10 ].”

In England in 1752 changes were made in the calculation of the calendar. The important changes were:

  • The elimination of some days (dating from October 1582), to realign the Vernal Equinox with March 21st
  • Change leap year selection so that not all years ending in "00" are leap years.
  • Change the beginning of the year to January 1st from March 25th
  • There were some errors in the 1582 calculation, which resulted in an additional day having to be dropped

Thus, as a result, September 3, 1752 did not happen in Georgia or the other British colonies. Whilethe day before was the 2nd, the next day in history officially became September 14, 1952. As part of switching Julian to the Gregorian calendar, 11 days had to be eliminated from the year 1752. September 3rd was the first casualty. Thus when the days were dropped from the year with the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar by the Catholic Church in 1582, December 25 was effectively moved backwards; As a result, some Christian Church sects, technically called old calendarists, would still celebrate Christmas or the Feast of the Nativity on January 6th.

In the USA and other countries of English tradition, this stretch of time is referred to as The 12 Days of Christmas, ending in the traditional Anglican Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany has its roots in a much older tradition based upon the announcement of Christ's birth: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05504c.htm; see also http://web.archive.org/web/20130305165327/http://www.cresourcei.org/cyepiph.html

The Three Kings (Drei Könige), also referred to as the Magi are said to be buried in the Cologne's great cathedral, where their tomb is pointed out to visitors. The coin here is from the period (1516) the city was under Spanish occupation. Throughout western Europe, Epiphany is the Feast associated with the three Kings -- in Spanish-influenced cultures la Fiesta de Reyes or el Dia de los Reyes Magos. It is customary in France to eat from a Galette des Rois (gâteau des rois), which holds a miniature figurine inside and a crown on top. The person finding the figurine in the cake is ruler or king for the day (roi de la fève). So whenever one has an unexpected, pleasant discovery -- "trouver la fève au gâteau" -- a lucky find.

In Germany Epiphany is called the day of the Heilige Drei Könige (the "wise men," "Three Kings," the Magi). Traditionally too, the initials of the Three Kings (Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar) -- K+M+B -- plus the year are inscribed in chalk over doorways in German-speaking countries on the eve of January 6 to protect house and home. In many parts of Europe, including Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the Christmas celebration does not end until this date -- now considered the arrival of the three "kings of the orient" in Bethlehem -- and the end of the "twelve days of Christmas" between Christmas and January 6th.

Une GALETTE: Sorte de pâtifferie fort fimple que l'on fait en étendant de la pâte dans une forme plate & approchant de celle du gâteau. On peut rendre les Galettes d'un bien meilleur goût, fi on y met du beurre à difcrétion avec du fel, & en repliant plufieurs fois la pâte ; il ne faut lui donner qu'un bon pouce d'épaiffeur, & la laiffer près d'une heure dans le four -- A kind of extremely simple pastry made from bread-like dough with a consistency approaching that of the cake. One can obtain cakes of a much better taste, if one puts more butter in it with salt (cook's discretion), & folding up several times in the dough -- one should make the cake only a good inch thick, & leave it nearly one hour in the furnace -- from an 18th century cookbook where some s's look like f 's (ie. pâtifferie would look like pâtisserie today).

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January 6, 1088 – Berengar of Tours: This theologian and scholar of in France, whose leadership of the cathedral school at Chartres, set an example of intellectual inquiry through the revived tools of dialectic and who disputed with the Church leadership over the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Eucharist. He paid more attention to the Bible and early Christian writers, especially Gregory of Tours and Augustine of Hippo, than others of his day; and, thus Berengar came to formal theology with a different perspective. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berengar_of_Tours His opposition to accepted Catholic practice was limited to the eucharistic doctrine of his time, but there were hints of the Reformation here in France at an early date.

The ultimate Epiphany-le 25 janvier -- Conversion de St Paul, Evêque et docteur de l'Eglise (AD 34): Sur la route de Damas, à la tête d’une troupe de fanatiques, chemine un homme de trente ans, qu’on appelle alors Saul (plus exactement Shaoul). Juif de race, grec de fréquentation, et politiquement romain, il a bénéficié de trois cultures, il connait le grec, l'araméen et l’hébreu. Il revendique une double citoyenneté, celle de Tarse et celle de Rome. À Tarse, sa ville natale, il n’a fréquenté que les écoles de grammaire, puis il est allé chercher à Jérusalem sa culture supérieure à l’école de Gamaliel. Moins tolérant que son maître il s’est vite mué en persécuteur des chrétiens. On le voit garder les vêtements de ceux qui lapident Etienne, ravager l’Eglise de Jérusalem et obtenir un mandat officiel pour engager des poursuites contre les chrétiens de Damas. http://missel.free.fr/Sanctoral/01/25.php « Il n'y a ni hommes ni femmes, ni Juifs ni Grecs, ni hommes libres ni esclaves, vous êtes tous un en Jésus-Christ » (Saint Paul, Épître aux Galates). http://web.archive.org/web/20040605014607/http://www.herodote.net/00420125.htm

"I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Get up and go into the city, where you will be told what to do."

Only one feast commemorates a moment of conversion, but it was an event not to be forgotten. When Saul arose from the dust before Damascus, he found himself without eye-sight. So he entered the city physically disabled, and forever changed. In fast, he awaited instruction. Back in 1989-1990, we witnessed the opening of the Berlin Gate and the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Everybody was amazed, but too few recognized in these events the hand of God. http://web.archive.org/web/20101205002638/http://www.irondequoitcatholic.org/index.php/Main/FeastOfSaintPaulsConversion see Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22; 22:3-16

Thus saith the LORD; “A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping;
Rachel weeping for her children,
she refuses to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

Rachel was remembered as a mother who mourns and intercedes for her children. Jeremiah 31:15, speaks of 'Rachel weeping for her children' (KJV). This passage is interpreted in Judaism as Rachel crying for an end to her descendants' sufferings and exiles following the destruction by the Babylonians of the First Temple in Jerusalem. That view is consistent with the next verses (Jeremiah 31:16-17), where all the children will return from the land of the enemy. In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament, the reference from Jeremiah 31:15 is interpreted as a prediction of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents by Herod in his jealous attempt to destroy the young Jesus.

Traditions regarding her tomb at today’s “historical” location date back to the beginning of the 4th century AD. Eusebius' “Onomasticon” (written before 324 AD) and the “Bordeaux Pilgrim” (333-334) mention the tomb as being located 4 miles south of Jerusalem, about halfway to Bethlehem. Ramah, where she died giving birth to Benjamin, is north of Jerusalem, not far from Bethel where husband resided. Both Rachel and Jacob are considered Saints by the Catholic Church.

"O SON thousane dy hengaghyn"

Ainsi parle l'Éternel: Placez-vous sur les chemins, regardez, Et demandez quels sont les anciens sentiers, Quelle est la bonne voie; marchez-y, Et vous trouverez le repos de vos âmes!

Stand by the roads, look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; walk in that way and find rest for your souls

There is sprung up a light for the righteous: And joyful gladness for such as are true-hearted

Lessons for the day: http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/info/cal_1871/january.html I highly recommend that you explore the following site; its huge and informative -- http://www.nottinghamchurches.org/music/recordings -- this link is to some of the choral hymns

More than a Bede page -- a brief history of the Church in England

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