Tag Archives: The Season of Advent

Advent 2012: Messiah Sing A Long!


The First Week of Advent 2012

Dear Readers,

Here is a delightful way to observe Advent!  It is not the entire libretto.  Therefore, plan for the Sing a Long to last only for one hour and one-half, maximum.

“Sing along or just listen, at the Tallahassee Music Guild’s ‘24th Annual Handel’s Messiah Sing Along,’ 

at 7.30 pm, on Thursday, at Faith Presbyterian Church, corner of Meridian and John Knox Roads.

Music scores are available for rent at the door and a reception follows, where all are invited to gather around the piano, to sing carols.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children.”

Call 850.893.5274.”

~~ http://www.tallahassee.com

Notes from Margot:  Bring cash.  Arrive early to find a seat in your “Section.”  Haley and I will be in the “Alto Section.”


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Advent Lesson Twelve: On the Way Home

Entrance to the Los Robles Historic Neighborhood:  Built in 1921

Recently, I was driving my 2.10 year old grandson, Benjamin, from his home to mine, traveling along the same  route I have taken him 100 times.  On this particular day, he asked me:

“What is the name of this street?’

I replied, “Seventh Avenue.”

Benjamin: “Well, I call it ‘Home Street,’ because it leads to our home.”

By “our home,” Benjamin refers to the home of Stephen and me, his maternal grandparents, a place so familiar to him that he considers it to also be his home.”   In a similar way, he considers the home of his paternal grandparents to be his home.”  We are very blessed to live in the same town as they.

Benjamin was correct:  Seventh Avenue or “Home Street,”  a long, straight road,  is the final leg of the short trip from his home to mine.  It leads us to the Entrance [photo above] of our small historic neighborhood and then we are finally “home.”

“Out of the mouths of babes:”  Young children remind us that behind a familiar name or word lies a greater concept, ideal, or reality.

For instance, the ancient Greeks had a word for “purpose” and that word was “telos.”

“A telos (from the Greek τέλοϛ for “end”, “purpose”, or “goal”) is an end or purpose, in a fairly constrained sense used by philosophers such as Aristotle. It is the root of the term “teleology,” roughly the study of purposiveness, or the study of objects with a view to their aims, purposes, or intentions.”  [Wikipedia]

If we are going to be thoughtful and intentional about revisioning, restoring, and reclaiming The Season of Advent, we need to first discover the “telos:” the central purpose.  Then, we need to conform to that purpose, by examining ways in which we invest our “heart, soul, mind, and strength” during this Advent Season.

Activity without purpose is merely “spinning our wheels:”  This is why individuals experience the frustration of “spinning out of control” during The Season of Advent.  Without an end, aim, purpose, reason, intention, goal, or objective, how can we hope to communicate — through our lives, families, and homes — the hope and light of The Season of Advent to the weary and often dark world around us?

[An English Cottage: Not my home, but lovely and welcoming, is it not?]

Our neighborhood stands at the convergence of two main artery roads and a one-way street.  At the convergence, is a strange and confusing “Round-A-Bout.”  When we first bought our home, seven years ago, I missed the Entrance a few times.  I had to circle around, navigate one-way streets, and try the approach again.  It was very frustrating:  I could clearly see my destination yet I could not enter it.  I had to stop my vehicle and study a map in order to find the correct path to my own [new] home!

It is like that with The Season of Advent:  Before we approach it, we travelers must choose our path carefully, study our map, compass in hand, and write down the directions.

What is the “telos” of Advent?  Am I aligned with that purpose?  Am I investing my “heart, soul, strength, and mind” into that one central purpose?  

Am I reaching my destination? Or am I merely driving around in circles? 

One  purpose of The Season of Advent is to form, conform, and transform us  in Christian discipleship.  To whom or what am I conforming this Advent Season?

A careful, genuine, intentional, and faithful observation of The Season of Advent will lead us  “on the way  home.”

As a fellow-traveler, I have offered these  one dozen “Advent Lessons” to you, as a compass and map, as street lights and signposts, and, finally, as a lamp burning in the window, welcoming you home.

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Advent Lesson Eleven: A Peek Inside Our Home!

The Completed Advent Candle Wreath:

I used antiques: one antique mirror, one silver tray, and five candlesticks with bobeches.

I bought one 100% pure beeswax Advent Candle Kit from http://www.toadilyhandmade.com.

I purchased the ribbon from Cindy’s Chapeaux in Havana, FL.

I picked up [free] fresh evergreens from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church: Boy Scout Christmas Trees [Lake Ella].

http://www.Toadilyhandmade.com  Advent Candles:  

Benjamin, 2.10 years, rolling the Rose Candle.

I love the expression of accomplishment and wonder on Benjamin’s face,

after he completed the Advent Candles at his home:  “I did it myself!”

The Tree of Jesse

The Tree of Jesse:

One wrought-iron “Winter Tree Ornament Display Stand,” spray-painted “Hammered Black.”

Hand-made-by-local-artists:Sstained-glass and beveled-glass ornaments.  [Some are from Susan’s Stained Glass at The Cottage Shops at Lake Ella, Tallahassee, FL.]

Vintage velvet fabric.

A beautiful jewel box from Korea, from my friend Eun Kwak.

Inside the Jesse Tree Jewelry Box:  

A velvet pouch, containing a pewter ornament, depicting the Holy Family.

This ornament is hidden until Christmas Morning, when we will hang it on the Jesse Tree.

Our Dining Room Table:

Antique bowl with pomegranates.

Our Dining Room Table:

100% pure beeswax votives.

Royal blue hemmed fabric for table runner.

A Simple Glass Nativity Scene, Made in Germany

Illumined from behind, with a 100% pure beeswax votive.

A hemmed square of organdy fabric veils the Nativity Scene, until Christmas Morning.

Nativity Scene

I bought this from Ten Thousand Villages, several years ago.

It is perfect for small children.

Inside the velvet pouch are wooden figures of the Holy Family.

We will add the Holy Family figures to the Nativity Scene, on Christmas Morning.

The Completed Nativity Scene with Holy Family Figures.

Nativity Scene:

A simple wooden stable and wooden image of the Holy Family

It would be easy to make the stable.

I bought the Holy Family wooden image at Ten Thousand Villages.

The Holy Family wooden image will stay hidden, inside an organdy pouch, until Christmas Morning.

A Simple Wooden Bell-Shaped Ornament,

with figures of Holy Family and sheep.

From Ten Thousand Villages.

Simple Ornament:  Angel

From Ten Thousand Villages.

An Olive Wood Ornament:  Dove

From Ten Thousand Villages.

Advent Calendar Book:

I do not know if this book is in print anymore.

It is a very sturdy Calendar/Book, which you can use every year.

Day One [A] of Advent Book

Day One [B] of Advent Book

The Very First Christmas

This is a book from Hallmark, from my dear friend, Ida Jean Sapp.

It is perfect for grandparents:  Record the story onto a microchip and your grandchildren can hear your voice,

every time they turn the page!

This is a great book for families with children, godchildren, or grandchildren.

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Advent Lesson Nine: “On the Shoulders of Giants”

The South Rose Window of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris


La claire-voie de la Rose Sud


“Under the rosette, the heavenly court is represented by the sixteen prophets, portrayed under the large windows of the bay, which were painted in the 19th century by Alfred Gérente, under Viollet-le-Duc’s supervision. The architect drew inspiration from Chartres Cathedral, placing the four great prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) carrying the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) on their shoulders, at the centre. This window echoes the reflections of Bertrand, Bishop of Chartres in the 13th century, on the connection between the Old and New Testaments:
‘We are all dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants. We see more than they do, not because our vision is clearer there or because we are taller, but because we are lifted up, due to their giant scale.’


Margot’s Commentary:

In a previous “Advent Lesson,” I spoke about the wise and proper use of lenses.  Each of us uses his/her own lenses in order to view the world.  This is called a “worldview.”  Since it is impossible to view the world without lenses, it is imperative that we choose the lens that gives us the most clear view.  I spoke earlier about kaleidoscopes, magnifying glasses, and telescopes.  Among these, I suggested that the telescope was the wisest choice, in order to see further and more clearly.

We who desire fervently to reclaim, revision, and restore the Season of Advent have received a priceless unopened gift — an inheritance!  Receiving this inheritance is like opening the gift of a high-powered, finely engineered telescope.

“Wise Christians should always be historians in one sense.  They sit higher and can see further, more panoramically, if they enrich themselves from the past.  John of Salisbury [1115-1180] a medieval scholar, spoke of the jewels, the riches, the prestige of antiquity.  He was right.  The past has bequeathed to us its gems.  Note his wise words:

‘Our own generation enjoys the legacy bequeathed to it by that which preceded it.  We frequently know more, not because we have moved ahead by our own natural ability, but because we are supported by the [mental] strength of others, and possess riches that we have inherited from our forefathers.  Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants.  He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.’

Our brothers and sisters from the past, indwelt by the same Spirit who indwells us, have left us a rich inheritance.  It’s locked away inside a treasure chest.  It’s layered in cobwebs.  It’s rusty and in some ways not very appealing.  But inside is the wealth John of Salisbury told us about:  diamonds, emeralds, gold sovereigns, and chains of Spanish silver.  If you have ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt, you’ve come to the right place.  We’ve already found the chest.  The hard, laborious work is done.  All we need do is dip our hands inside and let the riches run through our fingers.  Come along, and you’ll be sitting higher and further.”

[Resource for Margot’s Commentary:  Pocket History of the Church, D. Jeffrey Bingham, InterVarsity Press, 2002.]

Note from Margot:

Between now and Epiphany, I hope to share more about this inheritance and how opening this gift will help us to revision, reclaim, and restore the Season of Advent.

Can anyone explain the difference between the names “Bertrand” and “Bernard,” referring to the Bishop of Chartres?

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Welcome to Advent Lessons & Carols!

Dear Family & Friends,

“Advent” is the season of preparation before Christmas; “Lessons” are Scripture Readings and “Carols” are Songs.  Together, “Lessons and Carols” comprise a beautiful liturgical Worship Service.  I will explain more about that history later.

Today, I am announcing the beginning of my “Advent Lessons,”  in which I will provide ON-LINE lessons in the  Art of the Reclamation of Advent.  

My qualifications:  I have successfully reclaimed the Advent Season, for six years.

Proviso:  This Series is not for everyone!  It is intended only for those who sincerely want to Recover, Reclaim, and Revision the Advent Season.

We will begin lessons next week:

~Sign up for class by “Commenting” on this entry.

~Bring a pencil/pen and college-ruled three-ring paper.  That is your first assignment.

Coram Deo,



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