Friday, December 31, 2010

Texas Sobriety Checkpoints?: MADD vs. Freedom

Mothers Against Drunk Driving just cannot be pleased.

Years ago, they started with a good and noble agenda, to toughen laws against drunk drivers, especially repeat drunk drivers. And MADD had a large degree of success for which they are to be commended.

But, like many do-gooder groups, there is never enough; there is no pleasing them. They proceeded to push to raise the drinking age to 21, a cause which had only a tangential relevance to drunk driving. And when there were a few states that dared say no, MADD used the power of the federal government to impose a 21 drinking age nationwide. States that refused to raise their drinking age would not get federal highway funds. And MADD succeeded in trashing states’ rights for their holy cause.

But that was not enough. MADD pushed to get legal DWI limits lowered again and again, so that now Texas (and I think all states) has a limit of .08. That is ridiculous. Two beers is enough to put many over that limit. So now someone who drinks lightly and is driving well is under fire.

But that still is not enough for the MADD Mothers. Now they are pushing to bring sobriety checkpoints to Texas. Yes, I know most states have them. But randomly stopping and interrogating drivers without probable cause is wrong, period. The Constitution has something to say about that.

By the way, much of the news reporting on this story is little more than MADD propaganda. Check out here and here for samples of that.

There are a lot of things dealing with the roads that are wrong and dangerous. Drivers who do not use their turn signals and yak away on their cell phones cause more danger and aggravation on the roads every day than drunk drivers. But none of these offenses justify turning Texas into a police state where you can be pulled over and interrogated without probable cause. If someone is driving like crap for whatever reason, then, yes, pull them over. (And a pet peeve of mine is that speeders get pulled over, but rarely other types of bad drivers. But that is another rant.) But if you do not have reason to pull me over, then LEAVE ME ALONE.

So I got news for the MADD mothers and their Momma’s boys. Texas is NOT a police state. And us Texans prize and defend our freedoms. So back away from my freedom . . . or else!


As for my good readers, may you have a happy and safe New Year. And tonight, watch out, not only for the drunk drivers, but also for the police. DWI laws are so draconian already in pretty much all the states that even light drinkers who drive carefully have to watch out. You can thank MADD for that.

Two tips that have served me well: Don’t wait too long after midnight to drive home. The longer you wait, the more drunks are on the road. And consider keeping that midnight glass of champagne very small or non-alcoholic.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Obama Administration!

Why, look what Santa Obama left under the tree . . . way in back by the wall in hopes we won’t notice that much. Two days before Christmas, the EPA engaged in a power grab, trying to take over industrial permitting in Texas. Yes, red state Texas has one of the better economies in the union. Must put a stop to that!

Governor Rick Perry noticed that lump of coal (or the “clean” equivalent). Expect a good political war between Texas and the EPA.

Oh, and look! Remember when Obama and company promised he would not give us death panels or the like for Christmas? Well, surprise! While we were busy buying gifts for Grandma, Kathleen Sebelius was busy trying to help shuffle her off. The HHS is writing regulations to give incentives for doctors to accelerate “end of life care.”

The timing of these fed regulatory actions is *interesting*, around Christmas when not even I is paying much attention to politics and soon after the last election and as far as possible before the next election.

But I’m sure the Obama regime isn’t trying to sneak these acts past us to avoid political fall out. Nah.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Chant for Christmas Eve

At the beginning of my parish’s Christmas Eve Holy Communion service, I and a strong voiced acolyte will chant alternatively the following, which I adapted with slight alteration from Pearson’s The Sarum Missal in English:

The Lesson of Isaiah the Prophet

In which is foretold the glorious Birth of Christ

Thus saith the Lord

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by Whom are created all things in Heaven and Earth.

The people that walked in darkness

Whom Thou createst: whom the enemy deceived by subtle fraud, and led captive with him to hell,

Have seen a great light.

And at midnight, strange brightness hath shone on the Shepherds.

They that dwell in the shadow of death, the light

Everlasting, and our True Redemption

Upon them hath shined.

O wondrous birth.

For unto us a Child is born,

Jesus the Son of God, He shall be great,

A Son

Of the highest Father

Unto us is given

So had it been foretold from the Throne on high.

And the government shall be upon His shoulder,

That He may rule Heaven and Earth.

And his Name shall be called

Messiah, Emmanuel, Sabaoth, Adonai


The Root of David


Of God the Father,


Who created all things,


Overthrowing the hideous gates of hell.

The Everlasting Father,

King Almighty, and governing all,

The Prince of Peace.

Here and for ever.

Of the increase of His government

In Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria,

And peace there shall be no end,

For ever and ever,

Upon the Throne of David and upon His kingdom,

And there shall be no bounds to His reign

To order it,

In the bonds of The Faith,

And to establish it with judgement and with justice,

When He shall come as Judge to judge the world.

From henceforth

To Him be due glory, praise, and rejoicing,

Even for ever.

From the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same, let meet praise resound to the Creator throughout all climes to the ends of the whole world. A-men.


In a quiet candlelit sanctuary, I think this will be a powerful start to our Christmas Eve service. It will be a first for my parish, so we shall see.

This chant (again with slight changes, for which I am to blame) is from near the beginning of the Sarum Midnight Mass. But surprisingly, I have found almost nothing about the chant or its history online. Probably, I do not know where to look. Perhaps my learned readers can educate me in the comments?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have an Episcopalian Christmas!

Someone needs to have a chat with this gentleman about Advent and the rhythms of the church year . . . among other things.

Andy, who is known as Mr Christmas and has celebrated it every day for the past 17 years, claims he's "serious" about wanting to marry his Christmas tree.

The divorcee, from Melksham, Wilts, admits many will think he's had too much sherry but that hasn't stopped him drawing up plans for the ceremony.

He said: "I love my Christmas tree more than anything else, so that's why I want to marry it.

"I've already got a ring, although I'm not sure yet which branch I'll want to hang it on.

"The only problem seems to be finding a vicar who is willing to do the ceremony."

Andy, have you asked the Rev. Martin Dudley? And if he won’t do it, then do we across the pond have the “church” for you!

Monday, December 20, 2010

“Let’s be honest.” Lexus is the Abomination of the Week.

Toyota has for years gone to the edge of decency and good taste and beyond with its Lexus holiday ads complete with the big red bow on top of a Lexus. If memory serves me right, the first time Toyota ran these ads during the Christmas season provoked not a little controversy. Hawking luxury cars as Christmas gifts in such an in-your-face manner screamed holiday excess even for those whose Christmases tend to be secular.

But this year, Toyota is going even more over the top with a campaign that smugly proclaims, “Let’s be honest. No one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift.” Yes, ‘tis the season to be greedy.

Now, for some reason, I cannot remember seeing this ad on TV for the past several days. Did Toyota detect such revulsion at their campaign that they quietly pulled it? I have not found anything definitive but let us hope so. (Grr, I just saw one of the ads on CNBC, the one above actually, before I posted this. My hope is dashed.)

In contrast, Hyundai is running a holiday ad campaign that is so winsome, I stop to watch the ads. Here is one of them:

The campaign has a happy, light-hearted tone that makes me smile. And the music, along with the visuals, is both quirky and pleasant. If there is any heavy-handedness ala Lexus, it is very well concealed.

By the way, the duo in the ads is Pomplamoose. I suspect the quirkiness of the campaign and the use of Pomplamoose is aimed at younger car buyers.

I have not heard of this indie duo before myself (I am sadly not as in touch with the new music scene as I used to be.), but they may have gained a fan.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The "O" Antiphons and Godly Backward Masking

Tonight is traditionally the first night to begin the seven “O” Antiphons, which mark the height of Advent leading up to Christmas Eve. An excellent summary of them with mp3s and the scriptures behind them may be found at fisheaters:

The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights."

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." Those titles for Christ are:
Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

It never occurred to me that there might be such a thing as godly backward masking, but there you go.

I intend to include these in my late Advent devotions, beginning tonight – a first for me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chavez and Congressional Democrats Hate Democracy UPDATED

I have said before that Leftists only like democracy when it serves their agenda. When it does not serve their designs, Leftists undermine constitutional democracy with all the power they can muster.

Hugo Chavez and Harry Reid and friends are giving us yet more demonstrations of that. In the last elections, both lost some power. So both are seeking to undermine said elections.

Hugo Chavez has already rigged Venezuelan democracy. But not enough for his taste. Before more opposition lawmakers take their seats, Chavez is asking for power to rule by decree for one year.

What could possibly go wrong with such a “temporary” enabling act? Power to the People! . . . unless they vote wrong, of course. Then power to me!

As for Harry Reid, November’s elections were, if anything, a repudiation of profligate spending and of Obamacare. So what are Democrats trying to pass before many of them leave office? An omnibus spending bill that increases already bloated spending and funds Obamacare. Not to mention lots of lovely earmarks.

Election? What election? If the Democrats really were democrats they would pass a simple continuing resolution to fund the government past Saturday’s deadline (when current funding authority expires) and let the next just elected Congress deal with spending in more detail. But no. The Democrats are trying to use that deadline to subvert the will of the people and of their just elected representatives.

I’d rather shut the feds down myself.

A few RINOs share the blame for this monster as well. Defeated Senator Bob Bennett is among these.

By the way, I do not like UK parliamentary government as it concentrates power too much. But I do like that, as soon as the election is over and you form a government, you go have tea with The Queen and, presto, you are in power, not those who lost the election. Giving power for a time to those who are defeated or retiring, as in the U. S. and in Venezuela, and are therefore past being held accountable is a recipe for subversion of democracy. And we are most certainly seeing that now in this lamest of lame duck congresses.

UPDATE: Facing a firestorm of opposition from even John McCain, Reid has backed down and pulled the Omnibus spending bill. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Abomination of the Week

This week’s abomination is how Americans turn certain Christmas carols into sugary goo. Away in a Manger and O Little Town of Bethlehem are front and center in that regard.

Here is the proper way to sing Away in a Manger:

Now, with a warning to sensitive ears, here is the American way:

For O Little Town of Bethlehem, there are two acceptable ways.

And, again with a warning, here is the American way:

Why do Americans err so? When it comes to Christmas, if you give Americans the choice between the strong and stately and the sappy and sentimental, they will go for the latter just about every time.

I just might flee to England next year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stop Calling Yourselves a Church Already UPDATED

That’s it. Becoming Anglican has taught me to be slightly more polite about such matters than I used to be. But no more. This is the last straw. St. John’s with St. Andrew’s Waterloo is hosting a Sea of Faith conference.

Here’s a taste of the toxic water Sea of Faith serves:

We want to demonstrate that, for all religious traditions, the humanist agenda — of love between people making a better world of justice and peace — must be primary. All else is the fabric of mythology, ritual and ethics for incarnating this ideal.

There is great value in having a concept, or concepts of God, but that's what they are — human concepts. There is great danger in objectifying our God-concept into a supernatural Being.

So Christianity is mere mythology? God is a human concept that is no God at all?

Why is a “church” hosting a conference from this group? Because it is no church at all.

At the risk of repeating myself, Nothing ticks me off like libchurchers pretending they are Christians while they commit such outrages against the faith. And since they will not get off their fence of claiming to be Christians while they are not, I will do my part to push them off the fence. And that not just because of my orneriness, but because these libchurchers are wolves in sheep’s clothing, a danger to many.

Henceforth, the policy of this blog will be to use quotes to identify those who name themselves as Christians or as a church when their own actions and words shout that they are not. If that offends, too bad. I am finished with accommodating those who claim to be of The Faith while they willfully oppose it.

I obviously do not and should not pretend to know whether each and every congregation or person is of The Faith or not. Only God knows. But Jesus did say “you shall know them by their fruits.” And the fruit of some makes it all too obvious who at least some of the phonies are. It is disservice to the truth and to those who are honestly seeking the truth to continue the pretense that these phonies are even remotely the real thing. The church fathers called out phonies and heretics to protect seekers and the faithful. I will do my best to follow their godly example.

So this blog will clearly indentify such phonies with quotes, appropriate adjectives or other identifiers. I have done that at times when in a punchy mood. That will now be my permanent policy.

I should add that, say, when I write “The Episcopal ‘Church’”, that is not at all to imply there are not Christians in the Episcopal “Church”. There are Christians in any number of non-Christian groups for various reasons good and bad.

Also, I should emphasize that my issue is not with those who have issues with Christianity and are not Christians and are honest about it by not claiming to be Christians or of the Church. I appreciate and welcome such honesty.

My issue is with those who oppose The Faith while claiming to be of it by calling themselves “church” or “Christian.” Such is false advertising of the worst and most dangerous sort.


I may from time to time also apply this policy to those whose identity as churches or Christians is so questionable, even if possible, as to merit scare quotes. Again, I do not claim to see all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

BBC Radio 4 to Feature King James Bible on 400th Anniversary

I am heartened to see that the BBC intends to mark the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible by reading and focusing on it on BBC Radio 4 on January 9th. Kudos to BBC for recognizing the importance of the KJV in Western and English culture.

But, of course, cultural luddites that they are, secularists are whining.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, criticised the decision to give so much time to the Bible readings.

"It is fair enough to have a programme devoted to it, but the coverage is so excessive it beggars belief," he said.

"The BBC is supposed to be for everybody, not just Christians, so to devote a whole day to a minority, which is what Christians now are, is unfair to other listeners who may want something different."

In other words, BOOO HOOOOO! NOT FAIR!

First of all, we are talking about one radio channel for one day. Second, the programming has little to do with any “minority,” but on the impact the King James has had on all of English culture.

But secularists are more interested in wiping out the Bible’s impact on culture rather than recognizing it, so this sort of childish whingeing is to be expected. Again, the BBC is to be commended for rising above such myopia.

(And a tip of the hat also to Stand Firm.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

OUTRAGE: Koran read at installation of Huron Dean

The Anglican Church of Canada should do everyone a favor and stop claiming to be Christian, especially after their latest outrage. The Koran was read during the Installation of the new Dean of Huron Cathedral.

Nothing ticks me off like libchurchers pretending they are Christians while they commit such outrages against the faith.

To paraphrase Elijah, get off the fence! If the Lord is God, worship Him. If Allah or the Spirit of the Age or whatever is God, worship it. But do not even try to do both as a “church”. God will not let you get away with such damnable idolatrous fraud.

(Thanks to St. Nikao for bringing this to my attention.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Abomination of the Week

Nothing seems to bring abominations out of the woodwork like Christmas. To make money, merchandisers hawk all manner of iniquity and in all sizes, too. After all, “nobody ever wished for a smaller holiday gift.”

To bring shame and condemnation upon such, the Ship of Fools is taking nominations for their Twelve Days of Kitschmas competition.

Already among the nominations are such stand outs as the Miracle Eyes Jesus, the Jingle for Jesus Tamborine, and Jesus Paddle Balls.

Among such a multitude of abominations, it is hard and thankless work to chose just one as the Abomination of the Week. But one rises up above the others:

The Christian Nation CHRIST-mas Tree

“Celebrate Christmas American style.” That’s right! Christmas is all about patriotism and waving the red, white, and blue. Why Baby Jesus waved an American flag in the manger.

Hmm, I think I just got an idea for a manger scene that would SELL!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Prayer Book Wedding

This past Saturday, my parish celebrated the happy occasion of a wedding between two parishioners. And it so happened it was my first time to witness a traditional Prayer Book wedding (Reformed Episcopal Church BCP, to be exact).

I noticed that quite of lot of prayer book language has been adopted by even very un-Anglican weddings:

. . . for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, tell death us do part . . .

Traditional Book of Common Prayer.

With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship . . .


I also noticed that the traditional Book of Common Prayer is quite frank about the sexual aspects of marriage:

[Holy Matrimony] was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Combined with lessons from Proverbs 5: 18-19 and the Song of Solomon, the temperature rose in the Sanctuary at times.

This was also the first time I’ve heard the groom say, “I plight thee my troth.”

Special language for a holy and joyous occasion.

Monday, December 06, 2010

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Ground Zero

This Feast of St. Nicholas is a good time to remember St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in your prayers.

This little church at Ground Zero was destroyed on 9-11. And it has since been treated shamefully by local authorities in its efforts to rebuild.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Abomination of the Week

Observant readers may surmise that I consider the premature celebration of Christmas to be an abomination. You observe Advent, then celebrate Christmas . . . or else.

But now, this morning, I’ve discovered Christmas itself is an abomination to the Lord.

Just letting you know.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent Sunday Sermon at Smokey Matt’s

I mentioned that I had the pleasure of worshipping at Smokey Matt’s this past Advent Sunday. Here follows the aforementioned excellent sermon preached by the Rector. (With thanks to Fr. Duncan for passing it along.)

A Sermon Preached by Father Dwight D. Duncan, ssc – Rector, St Matthias’ Church, Dallas, Texas

11/28/2010 ADVENT I Romans 13:8-14, Year A

A new Christian Year begins today. We have entered the season of Advent, four weeks of preparing ourselves to celebrate worthily the nativity of Our Lord and Savior. We mark this new beginning in various ways:

# Some of the prayers and music of the Mass change. They are stately, simpler, expressing longing for the Savior.

# An Advent Wreath stands before us, its candles marking our progress through the weeks of our journey to Bethlehem.

# The vesture of the altar and the Sacred Ministers changes, blue predominating. But this blue is not vibrant. It is soft, sober, expressing Advent’s calm, patient, deliberate progress to Christmass.

Our changes in “here” are in marked contrast to those confronting us out “there”. Out “there”, music bombards us everywhere, its tempo rapid, its tone loud, encouraging us to scurry about the “busyness” of what the secular world makes of this season. Colors have changed out “there” as well: vivid colors of over-flowing decorations, assaulting our eyes sometimes like strobe lights.

In Advent, the contrast between the attitude of the Catholic Christian and modern secular people is at its most radical. My wife and I have already experienced this, during our recent pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. Whenever we left the precincts of the Shrine, we were confronted with this split. Actually, we were confronted with this radical disconnect even within the Shrine, whenever we turned on the television. It was startlingly to discover how profoundly saturated with the secular world’s abuse of this season England is. Nary a mention or sign of Christ, but most definitely signs, symbols, sounds of a pagan bacchanalia. Everywhere ... everywhere.

The secularist spends this time frantically celebrating a godless winter holiday, speaking much of a “spirit of the season” that he would wish to last the entire year. But that “spirit” relies on the energy and effort of us humans and too often is fueled by the spirits in one’s cocktail, a reason why this spirit can hardly last 12 hours! The Catholic Christian, on the other hand, is called in this season to the same calm pace and quietness which our Lady Mary kept as she awaited the bringing-forth, not of some sentimental spirit of the season, but of the Word of God made flesh.

The “world” – and in saying this I recognize, as must you, how much the “world” is still within each of us – the “world” is comfortable with “the spirit of the season” because this spirit makes no real demands on it’s body, appetites, and indulgences. The spirit of the secular winter holiday encourages us to eat and drink to excess, to stay up late, to overspend, to stay busy, and to try hard to have a good time. Most definitely, this season’s spirit is good for business.

But this world is not comfortable with the God-made-Man whose birth we Christians are preparing to celebrate. The world is uncomfortable with the Christian celebration because it rightly suspects danger to its business as usual. It rightly suspects that a God who chooses to clothe himself in our flesh, our matter, is going to make material demands on us. This God will require that our appetites be disciplined and not indulged, that all his gifts to us be used to his glory and for the common good. And that is bad for business.

The “world” is also not comfortable with the calm pace and quietness of Advent. The “world” wants noise, constant activity, go-go-go. Normally, one of the public places where we can stop for a few moments and have some quiet is a rest-room. Note the word: rest-room. You can’t go there during this season and get that, not with that horrid music pressuring you to get on with it!

The “world”, you see, fears that in the calm and quiet a Voice might speak, a Voice which will ask us to give not things, but to give ourselves. And so the more noise, the more activity, the more spending, the better, for the Voice itself is still and small and easily drowned.

We who profess the Catholic faith have not so learned Christ. No, this is what we have learned, as St Paul puts it to us in today’s lesson from his letter to the Christians in Rome: “Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Exactly. In this holy season, we Christians are called to open ourselves to this Season’s real spirit, the Holy Spirit. We are to put aside the frantic activity of the secular season. Insofar as it is possible, and just a little bit more than is possible, we are to become still and quiet. We are to look at God and into ourselves. We are to seek by the grace of the One-Who-Comes to set right the disorder in our lives, to subdue to him the world that remains within us and to prepare a place where he might lodge.

It is not that we are to shun our secular neighbors and separate ourselves from them during this Season. That would be a gross violation of charity. Rather we are to order our movement with them through this Season so that it is redeemed and sanctified, so that, through us, they are touched within it by the true Spirit of this Season, rather than by the spirit they try so desperately to manufacture.

With this in mind, I give you a few suggestions to help you redeem this Season, for yourselves and our secular neighbors. Taking a cue from our good Curate, who often makes his points by a succession of words beginning with the same letter, my suggestions are four “P’s”: parties, presents, prayer, penance.

PARTIES: You and I are going to be invited to parties before the real party season, Christmass, arrives. What should we do? Well, if you are free and willing to go, accept the invitation. That will be an act of charity towards your hosts. But go to the party with an agenda different from that of most people.

First, drink less and don’t stay out as late. That will be an act of charity to yourself, and also to others who will not have had to endure boorish, inebriated behavior from you and whose roads will be safer when they are on them.

Second, our tendency at parties is to want others to entertain us, to take an interest in us. Instead, look for someone to whom no one else is paying attention or someone with whom you’d rather have little or nothing to do. Go to them; draw them out; take an interest in them. In doing this, you will be imitating your Savior, who came not to be served, but to serve.

PRESENTS: For those personal gifts you wish to give, budget your spending and don’t spend more money than you have. Otherwise you will be a poor steward of the treasure God has given you. And don’t wait until the last minute to select your gifts: by that point you will be in real danger of overspending.

And when you wrap those gifts: give yourself to the recipient and give the recipient to God. What do I mean by this? I mean take your time doing the wrapping; do it the best you can; try to make it something which will be a visual blessing for the one who receives it. But most importantly, pray to God during the wrapping for the person who will receive it.

PRAYER: Spend some time alone with God everyday. Reflect on the Gift he gives you at the end of Advent: himself. Remind yourself why he had to come to us as he did: our sin. Rejoice over all the work he expended to make possible his coming: his labor is testimony of how important to him we are. The Advent Liturgy for the Home is a fine way of observing such a time. Its readings are a wonderful narrative of the plan and action by which God has come to us. And the Liturgy can be done by one person alone or by several together.

PENANCE: Do a thorough examination of conscience before Christmass and make your confession. If you are still too frightened about making your personal confession before a priest (which of course is the Sin of Pride rearing its ugly head!), then for God’s sake and yours do a thorough examination of conscience and offer it up to God at the Christ Mass. Please consider this: when Jesus comes to you at the Christ Mass, you may only be a stable and not a palace, but the stable you are could be/should be in order and its straw clean.

The counsel I’ve just given you for dealing in this Season with Parties, Presents, Prayer, and Penance provide a discipline by which you can prepare room within yourself for the coming King. We cannot do this when we are rushing about frantically, when we are worrying about where we will get the money to pay for extravagant gifts, and when we are burdened with the weight of unconfessed sin. Only when we abide in temperance, in calmness and quietness, and in God’s mercy can we keep the feast which begins on Christmass Day. When we do so abide, then the merriness of Christmass and the quietness of Advent will combine to carry us with joy into the year unfolding ahead. God bless us one and all as we progress
through this most holy and wonderful of seasons.