December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before Thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9: 1-6 
First Reading for Christmas Midnight Mass

December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Do you find it hard to sleep tonight,
Resting by the Christmas lights?
Could there be something you forgot?
Beyond the bows, and mistletoes,
The tree with presents wrapped below,
There's more to this than you had ever thought?
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?

Remember how the story goes,

God's gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes,
Beneath the star, one great and holy night.
The shepherds heard the angels sing,
The wise man brought an offering,
Peace on Earth began in Bethelethm
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas?
If the angels never sang 'Glory to the new born king?'
What is Christmas without Christ?

There'd be no gloria

In excelsis deo
In excelsis deo

What is Christmas
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?
This is Christmas,
It’s all about the Savior wrapped in a manger.
This is Christmas,
Because of Jesus Christ!
This is Christmas,
Because of Christ!
Because of Christ!

This is Christmas by Kutless

December 15, 2010

End of Term

Just updating a bit on the end of term, some of my adventures that I had... 

We had a Twilight Marathon one weekend... and before you go gasping and denouncing me... I will say that I think that the movies are way over rated, particularly the first one.  I still had fun!  Edward made me laugh, I was with a bunch of friends and to top it off my roommate had a Disney Princess coloring book!  ^_^  You can't beat Princesses.

Our Christmas party was lots of fun.  We built two gingerbread houses, had a white elephant gift exchange and then played a couple of games.  Following the party my RA for whatever reason decided that she was going to run from room to room taking things from people and hiding them either in other people's room or dumping them in the hallway. The pranking ended with three of us taping together sheets of paper and covering up another girl's door so as you walked down the hall towards it, it looked like it wasn't there.  It worked too. She was so confused... ^_^

A night or so before I left it started snowing again, my roommate and I were in our room and the girl who lives across the hall had been wandering in and out.  It was about 10:30 I think when she looked out and said that it was still snowing and my roommate and I joined her at the window.  There was a lot of new snow, so we decided then and there that we were going to go out and make snow angels.  We ran outside and flopped down in the snow and made lovely angles, and then the other girl remembered about the perfect climbing tree that I had found.  As She loves to climb trees, we headed over there to tackle it.  I was right about it being the perfect climbing tree... but it was only the perfect climbing tree after you managed to get yourself up there.  She had a bit of trouble, being on the shorter side, plus the branches were a bit icy, but after 15 minutes of jumping my roommate and I pushed her up and then she climbed all the way to the top.  After she sat up at the top and climbed down, we collected snow balls and through them at the windows on our dorm.

Lots of winter fun... when we go back we have plans to buy a sled and go sledding down the steep driveway that leads to the athletic section of campus...  I'll let you know how that goes. ;)

December 10, 2010

You Will Know Me in This World

I had the wonderful opportunity to see the latest installment in The Chronicles of Narnia today... The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Yes, I cried.

I cried for Prince Caspian as well, but that was because Prince Caspian was the first time I had extensively followed a film making process - from casting to completion.  When I cried, it was because after all these months of waiting, I was finally getting to see the film.  When I cried today,  for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it wasn't because I had been waiting for months.  No, I cried because for once they got something so beautifully and amazingly right that I couldn't help myself.  I cried because it was beautiful.  I know I already said that, but I can't describe it any other way.

There were a few things that I wasn't as fond of.  The green mist was a little bizzare and felt just a bit un-Narnian... okay, it felt rather un-Narnian, especially the first time you see it.  But it blended into the story well, and it gave some great moments for the characters, especially Edmund.  Who, by the way gets a wonderfully important role and SO much more screen time than in Prince Caspian.  Caspian was actually less of a main character than I thought he would be, but he was wonderful as well... and is he gorgeous or WHAT?  Lucy has definitely matured into a young lady, and she plays the role of Lucy just as wonderfully as ever.  She gets to be in a few fight scenes now and then, she is tempted, but in the end she's still the sweet, lovely girl who introduced her family to Narnia.

And Eustace.  All I can say is, they made a wonderful choice when they picked Will Poulter to play him and Will Poulter was outstanding.  The moment I heard him say his first line, I knew that they got him right.  I wasn't disappointed later on either.  He stayed Eustace Clarence Scrubb for the whole film and absolutely deserved that name.  I just loved the relationship that he and Reepicheep develop... oh, and yes.  Eustace stays a dragon for much longer than in the book.

There were changes from book to film, as we all knew there would be, but actually a good deal of it stayed very much the same.  It might appear to be quite different when you first see it... but when you pay attention, all that they did was add a few minor things (okay, the green mist wasn't minor) and move things around.  I think the shuffled scenes was one of the larger changes, but even though they are shuffled around, each island is still the same as it was in the book.

None of the things that I've just talked about is what made me cry, however.  I suppose they all built up to it, but the part that made me cry was the ending.  No matter what you think of the rest of the film, you. will. love. the end.  People say good-bye, they leave or they stay, and it really is sad knowing that Lucy and Edmund and Reepicheep will never be back and that kept the tears going, but what started me crying was Aslan.  People have been worried for months about how the ending would turn out... how well those important lines of Aslan's would be preserved.  So I will tell you now, you don't have to worry about that line.

"But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

That is how he says it in the book, and that is how he says it in the film.  When I heard him say it, I knew how true it was and my heart felt so full and loved and I knew that Alsan was in this world and that I was  blessed to know him by his other name.

And that is why I cried.

Guess what today is...

TODAY IS FRIDAY!!!! And you know what that means!?!?!?!

December 4, 2010

Little Miracles

So it's pretty safe to say I've been rather frustrated for the past five and a half hours of my life. I was at work, we set up for the show and then when we were all done setting up we had nothing to do until the show was over, which meant four and a half hours of just sitting in the sound booth.  I had brought my laptop with to try and do some things, but of course - the internet connection was terrible.  Now, it has been a pain once in a while before, but it has never been as bad as it was tonight.  I think the longest I was able to stay connected for one period of time was about five minutes, and then I'd lose connection and have to wait five to ten minutes before it would pick up the signal.  So I fought with the internet for about four and a half hours.  Then the show finished, and it was a really big concert so there was a rather large stage strike... and only four of us to do it so it took at least an hour and twenty minutes, which was frustrating because I ended up not getting to chat with one of my friends.  So I got back to my dorm in time to say goodnight to my friend, and have continued to struggle with the internet for the past 30 minutes.

Now, you may well wonder why I am still struggling with the internet when I could and should just go to bed... and actually, it isn't all of the internet that is being a pain right now, just YouTube, Amazon and ITunes and any place where I would look for a certain song I really, really wanted to find.  And yes, this is where the little miracle comes in.  To understand it completely though, we have to go back about... oh five years.

I was about thirteen at the time.  One of my mom's friends had given us a few cd's to borrow, actually, I think it was just the one cd.  As I remembered tonight, it was the "Wow Worship: Yellow" CD.  We borrowed it for several weeks and listened to many times, and I remember there was one song I particularly fell in love with.  It was beautiful, and the music was so wonderfully celtic and uplifting and the melody really struck a chord with me.  (No pun intended).  In fact, I can still remember very clearly sitting in our van, I believe I was in the first or second bench, but either way I was in the middle seat, waiting for my mom to come out of the pharmacy, and we were listening to that song.  That may have even been the first time I heard it, I'm not sure. When the time came to return the CD, I begged my mom to try and find a copy and buy it so I could have that song again.  She looked in all sorts of Christian Bookstores, but could not find it anywhere.

I never forgot that song, even after I couldn't remember the name or the band or the lyrics or even the melody.  All I could remember was that it sounded celtic, it was beautiful, the cover of the CD was yellow and that I wanted to find it again. When I saw WOW CD's at the bookstores, I would look at the track listings, hoping I would recognize the title.  Now I am not entirely sure why I didn't ever go ask the family we borrowed the CD from about the song... I guess because I usually thought about the song when I was in a bookstore, and I've never been in a bookstore with them.

Then tonight, I was at work.  The concert that came through was a Christian ministry organization, and this was their Christmas Concert fundraiser sort of thing.  It was very long, and full of praise and Christmas songs and prayer and Scripture readings.  I half listened to it, mostly because I was frustrated with my internet.  Then, towards the end of the show, they started to sing this song and something sounded familiar.  For whatever reason, my mind instantly jumped to my mystery song and I began searching WOW cds on Amazon.  I looked at all the yellow ones I could find, but I still didn't connect the song the choir was singing to the song that I had been looking for.  I couldn't listen to any of them then, plus the internet still was being a pain, so I finally decided to just wait until I got back to my room.

Of course, as I said before, anything with music wasn't working so I hadn't narrowed down a CD... than I remembered seeing the song "Here I Am To Worship" listed on one of the yellow CDs.  To make a long story short, my mom heard that song last year at a friend's concert, knew she had heard it before, but couldn't remember who had sung the version she liked.  When I realized that this was on one of the yellow cds and the artist was not one we had listened to when we had been trying to find the version a year ago... I figured out that it must be that CD.  I looked at the track list, and there on the same CD as "Here I am to Worship" was the song at the concert.  I knew it had to be the same song, and bits and pieces started coming back to me.

That was when the Internet really started giving me trouble.  Nothing that played music would work.  Not Amazon, not Playlist, not ITunes, not Youtube.  I found the WOW version, but it wouldn't load so I restarted my computer.  Still, the video on YouTube would. not. work.  I told myself that I'd waited about seven years, a few more hours wouldn't make a difference, but my stubborn side declared I was not going to bed until I had heard the song.  While the video was loading, I decided that I would start saying my night prayers.  I began with my "Spiritual Communion", and I was not halfway through when the video started playing.  Only the first 43 seconds loaded, the rest still hasn't, but I heard enough to know that after seven years, I had found my song.

December 3, 2010

O Come O Come Emmanuel - Sugarland

I've been watching the online rerun of the CMA Country Christmas over the past day or so, since I missed it when it was originally on ABC, and I was just delighted with it.  The fact that here were big name country music stars, on national  television, singing Christmas songs, sharing Christmas memories and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas was a delightful treat for me.  Not a single "Happy Holiday{s}" from anyone.  Reba McEntire said before performing her song that for her, Christmas is about "getting together and celebrating Jesus' Birthday".  In addition to your more secular Christmas songs like "Santa Baby" and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland", performers Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town and Martina McBride sang songs like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Go Tell it On the Mountain" and "O Holy Night".  I guess country singers don't care about being politically correct. ;)

My favorite song of the show, however, was the second to last song performed by the musical duo Sugarland.  Now I do like some of their songs, however I've never been crazy about lead singer Jennifer Nettle's voice, which tends to be rather nasaly.  I was pleasantly surprised though by the depth and beauty that she showed when she sang "O Come O Come Emmanuel", I wish she would sing like that more often!