Tag Archives: joy

Let them fall down.

O Lord, guide me in the way of Thy righteousness;
because of mine enemies,
make straight my way before Thee,
for in their mouth there is no truth;
their heart is vain.

Their throat is an open sepulchre,
with their tongues have they spoken deceitfully;
judge them, O God.

Let them fall down on account of their own devisings;
according to the multitude of their ungodliness,
cast them out, for they have embittered Thee, O Lord.

And let all them be glad that hope in Thee;
they shall ever rejoice, and Thou shalt dwell among them.
And all shall glory in Thee that love Thy name,
for Thou shalt bless the righteous.

O Lord, as with a shield of Thy good pleasure
has Thou crowned us.

-from Psalm 5

 

 

 

Busy being alive.

It was a drippy and drizzly morning when I drove to the post office to ship Christmas presents to a few of my family. I thought there would be a long line, so I gave myself plenty of time, because I wanted to go directly from there to the cemetery in time to pray with a friend at her husband’s interment.

But few people were at the post office, and three workers, so I finished that business and was out the door with time to spare. Before I got my car door open a man with a long and full beard said, “Hi, Gretchen!” but I didn’t recognize him behind his face mask. Actually, I wouldn’t have known him without the face mask, because I hadn’t seen him in six years, and never with such facial hair. I had to ask, “Who are you?” and as soon as he told me his name I gave him a big hug and a kiss. Mike doesn’t live in my town, but the last time we’d met was in the same shopping center, the year in which we both lost our spouses. Back then we weren’t in the talking mood, but this time we stood in front of the post office and caught up for half an hour. He told me that recently he has fallen in love — with the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom! What a joyous meeting we had.

I had another visit with friends yesterday, for which I made a big pot of chili beans; this afternoon a little tea time with a sister from church when I got back from the cemetery; and last week, a walk with two friends. It’s still fall here, but the colors are all turning to browns and grays, so I was surprised to see this mushroom, the brightest I’ve ever encountered. It was one of several of its kind popping up under bushes.

Some of my family are expected to arrive next week for a nice long Christmas visit. I need to hire a Christmas elf assistant, to help me accomplish all my projects — but that doesn’t sound likely, so I cheerily push one thing after another on to the list of what we can do together, after they arrive.

And for this month, our church women’s reading group has picked a great pair of books: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius. I am just amazed at us! Last month when Pippin’s family was down for Thanksgiving, the Professor and I were sitting around chatting about church history and doctrine, and he shared with me a paragraph from the first chapter of On the Incarnation. My response was that it was crystalline. That’s probably the first time I ever used that word, which just popped into my mind — that’s what Athanasius will do! And I told the Professor that since I was soon to start reading the book again, I would be sure to post that passage on my blog.

Beginning to read St. Athanasius again has been soothing and encouraging. I got the idea of posting a series of excerpts this month of Advent, when we anticipate The Incarnation. But as I looked over my past blog posts to make sure I didn’t repeat myself too much, I discovered that I have already posted that very paragraph the Professor read to me, plus many more long and short quotes. Maybe I will find something different, but not likely a series.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Conception of the Theotokos. I’m looking forward to attending Liturgy for the feast. I feel very happy at the moment, thinking about it. The world is full of trouble and strife and unknowns, questions about what governments will do, and what I should do. But for at least many hours of every day, I know what to do, and I do it — one thing after another. My mind gets distracted constantly, but often when I bring it back to here and now, a great gush of joy falls on me, knowing that I am alive.

From the rising of the sun…

PSALM 112

Praise the Lord, O ye servants,
praise ye the Name of the Lord.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord
from henceforth and for evermore.

From the rising of the sun
unto the going down of the same,
the Name of the Lord is to be praised.

High above all the nations is the Lord,
above the heavens is His glory.

Who is like unto the Lord our God?
Who dwelleth on high
and looketh down on things that are lowly,
in heaven and on the earth.

Who raiseth up the poor man from the earth,
and from the dunghill lifteth up the pauper,

Who maketh the barren woman to dwell in a house
and be a mother rejoicing over children.