Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Three Things I Love About Christmas

I can hardly believe it has rolled around to that time of year again.  Weather you live where it's boiling hot or freezing cold (pun totally intended!) Christmas usually has the same 'twang' for most people - a time of little or no rest, a fair amount of stress, travel, fatigue, and although we enjoy it well enough, I dare say there's more than a few people who give a hearty sigh of relief once it's over.

It doesn't have to be that way.  Whether you go all out at Christmas time or keep it basic, take time out to enjoy the little things that light up the season.  Here are my top three things that I really enjoy at Christmas time.  :)

1. The Giving

It probably sounds really corny and self-righteous of me, but I assure you that's not what I am trying to imply!  :P   One of my favourite parts of Christmas is planning gifts for my younger siblings and my parents, and the anticipation that goes with it.  ...And then watching their faces light up with surprise and joy and delight while they unwrap... it's priceless!  :D

2. The Advent Calendar

This is a new tradition for us, but we all enjoy it.  Last year, my sisters and I made a patchwork advent calendar and put a piece of chocolate and a Bible verse in each pocket.  We decided to pull it out again this year and do it again.  ^_^  It only takes a minute, but it is really special to read the verses that point to the coming of Christ and to discuss the prophecies together.  The homemade chocolate is really good too.  ^_^

3. The Music

Why is it that some of the most beautiful songs and melodies ever written only get sung once a year???  I love Christmas music.  Three albums we have been really enjoying this year are "Home for Christmas" by BarlowGirl, "A Family Christmas" by the Piano Guys, and "Rose of Bethlehem" by Selah.  (This is the one Jess and I have been flogging lately!)  Rose of Bethlehem is truly one of the most beautiful Christmas albums I have ever listened to.  Currently, my favourite song comes from that album... Here are a couple of songs from it... My favourite is the first one, Once Upon a Christmas.  The second one, Rose of Bethlehem is absolutely beautiful too as it draws a comparison between Jesus and a Rose, the thorns and the crown of thorns He bore for us.

Well, that's what I love about Christmas - some of it anyway!  What are some of your favourite traditions or elements of the season?  

In all the traditions and hustle and bustle, never forget the true meaning of the season:

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

May God bless you and your families immensely and may you have a very blessed Christmas.  

God bless us, every one!  :D
- Tiny Tim

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A New Favourite Word and a New Favourite Poem

I have a new favourite word:


Isn't that delicious?  I have been muttering it to myself as I walk around the house just to hear it again and again.  Yeah... I'm weird like that!  ^_^

I came across the word in my New Favourite Poem and it means the sound of bells.  I just love it.  :D

Anyway, you are probably curious as to what my New Favourite Poem is.

*Drum roll*

It is Edgar Allen Poe's The Bells.  If you have not read any poetry by Poe, then you are sadly missing out.  He had such a way with words, rhythm and rhyme and The Bells in particular is a work of pure brilliance.  I have posted it below, but before you read it, you have to promise not to just read it - you have to say it aloud.  The reason is that the way Poe wrote the poem is that as more and more bells are added to the description, the rhythm gets faster and more repetitive, just like the clamour of dozens of bells all ringing at the same time.   The last stanza is where I get really excited.  (Once again... I'm weird like that!  :P)

I hope you enjoy it  as much as I do.  :)

The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe

   Hear the sledges with the bells--
             Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
       How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
           In the icy air of night!
       While the stars that oversprinkle
       All the heavens, seem to twinkle
           With a crystalline delight;
         Keeping time, time, time,
         In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
    From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
               Bells, bells, bells--
  From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


         Hear the mellow wedding bells
             Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
       Through the balmy air of night
       How they ring out their delight!
           From the molten-golden notes,
               And all in tune,
           What a liquid ditty floats
    To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
               On the moon!
         Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
               How it swells!
               How it dwells
           On the Future! how it tells
           Of the rapture that impels
         To the swinging and the ringing
           Of the bells, bells, bells,
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
               Bells, bells, bells--
  To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!


         Hear the loud alarum bells--
                  Brazen bells!
What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
       In the startled ear of night
       How they scream out their affright!
         Too much horrified to speak,
         They can only shriek, shriek,
                  Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
            Leaping higher, higher, higher,
            With a desperate desire,
         And a resolute endeavor
         Now--now to sit or never,
       By the side of the pale-faced moon.
            Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
            What a tale their terror tells
                  Of Despair!
       How they clang, and clash, and roar!
       What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
       Yet the ear, it fully knows,
            By the twanging,
            And the clanging,
         How the danger ebbs and flows ;
       Yet, the ear distinctly tells,
         In the jangling,
         And the wrangling,
       How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells--
             Of the bells--
     Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
         Bells, bells, bells--
  In the clamour and the clangour of the bells!


          Hear the tolling of the bells--
               Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
       In the silence of the night,
       How we shiver with affright
  At the melancholy meaning of their tone!
         For every sound that floats
         From the rust within their throats
              Is a groan.
         And the people--ah, the people--
         They that dwell up in the steeple,
              All alone,
         And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
            In that muffled monotone,
         Feel a glory in so rolling
            On the human heart a stone--
       They are neither man nor woman--
       They are neither brute nor human--
              They are Ghouls:--
         And their king it is who tolls ;
         And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls,
            A pæan from the bells!
         And his merry bosom swells
            With the pæan of the bells!
         And he dances, and he yells ;
       Keeping time, time, time,
       In a sort of Runic rhyme,
            To the pæan of the bells--
               Of the bells :
       Keeping time, time, time,
       In a sort of Runic rhyme,
            To the throbbing of the bells--
            Of the bells, bells, bells--
            To the sobbing of the bells ;
       Keeping time, time, time,
            As he knells, knells, knells,
       In a happy Runic rhyme,
            To the rolling of the bells--
         Of the bells, bells, bells--
            To the tolling of the bells,
      Of the bells, bells, bells, bells--
               Bells, bells, bells--
  To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.