Monday, January 29, 2007

1/05/07: Happy Twelfth Night!

Happy Twelfth Night!

Yes. today was the Twelfth Day of Christmas, and tonight we celebrated Twelfth Night with Alpine Anglican. I made a gluten-free spice cake to take to Father Acker and Alice's home.

We arrived at 6:30, and Father asked me to read from St. Luke's gospel, the third chapter, the fifteenth to the twenty-second verses.

Then we proceeded out to their backyard, where Father had set up an metal washtub with some kindling. It took three tries, but Father finally got the fire started (with jokes flying from the Beadle), and then we laid in the dried greenery branches Father had given us, making quite a little conflagration. The light of the fire symbolizes Christ, the Light of the World, and His Light going out to the Gentiles. The light also symbolizes our light, our witness, as it goes out to those who do not yet believe. Father prayed that we, as Christians, would shine into this dark world with the Light that is Christ our Lord.

Then, gazing into the flames of the fire, we broke into the "Phos Hilaron," an ancient Eventide prayer that we learned from Pastor Rollo at Lake Murray several years ago:

O gracious Light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.

And then to close the service, we sang "Silent Night" together around the fading fire before proceeding back into the house.

Then we chatted together over trifle, spice cake, fudge, sherry, tea, coffee, and cocoa. Father and I talked about our visits to England; he loved Salisbury Cathedral and the southern area best, while I preferred Cambridge and the middle section of Great Britain. The boys were flitting about here and there, rather high on sugar, especially after everyone left after only an hour. We stayed a few minutes later and were sent back up the hill with warm wishes for a Merry Twelfth Night and a Blessed Epiphany.

Tomorrow is Epiphany -- the time to celebrate the Wise Men coming to find and see the Christ Child, the Gentiles coming to worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Also celebrated on this day is the Baptism of Christ and the Wedding Feast at Cana. Too see a great outline about Epiphany, see Beth's post on our new yet-unnamed forum:

Twelfth Night also reminds me of Shakespeare's wonderful play which E and I saw performed at Point Loma several years ago and which E just read for school a few weeks ago. I also bought Marchette Chute's Shakespeare of London today at Maxwell's House of Books where I had a short chat with Craig Maxwell, the owner. He wasn't open when we first got there, but he turned up as I read the newspaper clippings about his bookshop in the front window; in doing so, I found out that he is the grandson of the original Wahrenbrock, who started my favorite used bookstore in downtown San Diego (now owned by Chuck Valverde). I used to frequent Wahrenbrock's very often when I worked at Harcourt Brace years ago. Craig also attended the University of San Diego, where I did my graduate degree. (I even found out today that Dr. Burns' grandson is currently attending USD as a freshman.)

Speaking of USD, I drove out there with B today and was able to check out that Master's thesis I mentioned earlier this week from the library. I'm very glad to get a hold of that book for my genealogical research. Woo-hoo!

It's been a wonderful Christmastide for us -- lots of fun times and precious memories. I hope it was for you, too.

So a Happy Twelfth Night of Christmas! And a blessed Epiphany to you as well!

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