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Cinderella Story

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Style photo

As an adult, I still like to play with paper dolls so here’s me cutting out outfits from fashion magazines and pretending like I’m 7 years old again.  It’s my Throwback Thursday Thing.

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Like most of the research I conducted earlier regarding the celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, after about the first few days into it the meanings of each day’s celebration tended to get a bit blurry until Epiphany.
For me, the days leading up to the end of the Christmas season included meeting with my sister and her two kids in Newport Beach and exchanging presents. They were visiting from out of town.  We ate pizza at a traditional looking Italian pizza parlor and navigated a shaky four seater bicycle down the boardwalk–her kids in the adult seats while we adults crammed into the kids’.
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As the normal work routine began the season seemed to get lost until today, traditionally called Epiphany, the best present I received was an answer to prayer in attracting like-minded people to my spontaneous writing group. Two new people showed up–one was producing a movie about two friends, one with a disability and in a wheel chair and the other pushing him on the 500 mile journey of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  The other person quoted a verse from 1 Corinthians in her writing.  Then, I decided to get a late lunch after a staff meeting and ran into a writer that had previously attended the group.  I had lunch and good conversation with her and her friend.  This evening, I will read a new book about a California mission that I am going to start to help to promote.  So, I’m learning more about some of the history of the church, overall a great way to celebrate this last Holy day.
According to ChristianityToday.com, “Epiphany is the day the celebration of Christmas comes to an end…Epiphany commemorates the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel—Christ’s manifestation to the nations, as shown in three different events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the turning of water into wine.”

The article from ChristianityToday continues, “Following Jesus, we have been baptized into his death and resurrection. Whether we are called to martyrdom, or to prophetic witness, or simply to faithful living in the joys and sorrows of our daily lives, we live all of our days in the knowledge of our dignity, redeemed through Christ and united to God. We are part of the strange society of people whose world has been turned upside down, and we go out to witness to this topsy-turvy truth: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”

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New Years Day is Day 7 of the 12 days of Christmas.

At our church’s New Years’s Eve service, we were told what the word of 2015 would be.  It was announced that the word was B-O-L-D Bold.  The content of the sermon included the two sides of God-the Lion and the Lamb and that the Lion side of His nature would appear more in the New Year.  What a surprise then, or was it,  to wake up on New Year’s Day with the front page of our local newspaper with this article about Pope Francis being the person of the year.  The word BOLD was prominently displayed in the title of the article.

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I got to thinking about what that word BOLD  means to me.  I pondered how sometimes people like to take each letter of a word and make additional meaning to it and came up with this expanded meaning for me.

B-BE

O-ONE WITH OUR

L-ORD

D-REAM, DO, DESIRE, DEVOTION, DONE

The word inspired me to start to take action to get things done on the dreams that I have desired for a long time. The desires that He put in me. After spending 2014 doing some major inner healing work, being very quiet and often times alone among the sheep, this new word encourages the Lion in me to step out in the accompaniment of our Lord and get things done. There’s all those dreams that have been brewing and all those items yet to be realized. It’s time now to do them. To roar, to stand up, to fight if needed to be all that the Lion and Lamb has promised all of us to be.

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On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Voice website (crivoice.org) the author of the Twelve Days of Christmas article, Dennis Bratcher, correlates the twelve days of Christmas song to biblical references.  On the fourth day of Christmas he states that the four calling birds are the “four gospels 1) Matthew , 2) Mark, 3)Luke, 4) John, which proclaim the Good News God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.”

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It seems the twelve days of Christmas song and celebration has been a mostly Catholic celebration with many references to the song suggesting it was a secret way for children to learn the “tenets of their faith”. That myth has mostly been debunked but it appears the idea is still going strong even while the idea has been unfounded.

For Catholics, today is the day to celebrate Pope Sylvester 1. It appears that there is not that much information about him other than that he was a Bishop in Rome in 314.

The idea of what it means to be a saint has been on my mind lately.

I think traditionally what comes to mind when someone references a saint is the image of someone like Saint Sylvester who worked in the church in a high position and has since passed away.

But if you consider Jesus who walked the earth and was God himself and offered himself to us as a sacrifice so that we might know eternal life, maybe this verse reference may be one meaning that more closely fits,

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” 1 Corinthians 1:2

May you call on our Lord Jesus Christ today and every day of the New Year and be like the saints.

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My internet search for the meaning behind a lot of the 12 days of Christmas after the Holy Innocents and up to the day of Epiphany seems to get blurry at best with different ideas and a lot of Catholic references that I don’t follow. So, I’m falling back on the Christmas Carol for inspiration.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

In the carol, the Five golden rings verse has a long pause once you get to the next days of the song. Perhaps then, this is an important pause in the celebration.

Previously I had read somewhere that the biblical meaning behind the number 5 was Grace and Gold seems to get a lot of references in the bible. Part of Revelation 21:21 states that …”the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.” In Genesis 2:12 it says, “And the gold of that land is good…”Finally, the bible references the signet ring often in scripture. According to bible-history.com,

“The “signet ring,” also known as a “seal” comes from the Hebrew word “hotam” and the Greek word “sphragis” and was used universally in the ancient world. It was a portable instrument used much like we use a signature today, but much more important. They would seal or stamp a document, or the door of a house, or a tomb, etc. It was also an emblem of authority.”

So the three together could possibly be a very basic snapshot of what it means to follow Christ–He provides the grace for us to understand His promises, like streets of gold, and He even signs his promises with a signature.

Much to pause, and ponder about.

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Doll

Continuing the celebration of day three of the twelve days of Christmas, I spent a lovely lunch at Brothers Provisions with a college friend and her family.  Seeing her daughter hold her present really highlighted the day’s focus on celebrating the innocents.  As Christianity Today states, “On December 28, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the children murdered by Herod…They died unjustly before they had a chance to know or to will—but they died for Christ nonetheless. In them we see the long agony of those who suffer and die through human injustice, never knowing that they have been redeemed. If Christ did not come for them too, then surely Christ came in vain. In celebrating the Holy Innocents, we remember the victims of abortion, of war, of abuse. We renew our faith that the coming of Christ brings hope to the most hopeless. And, in the most radical way possible, we confess that like the murdered children we are saved by the sheer mercy of Christ, not by our own doing or knowing.”

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According to Christianitytoday.com, “St. John the Evangelist, commemorated on December 27, is traditionally the only one of the twelve disciples who did not die a martyr. Rather, John witnessed to the Incarnation through his words, turning Greek philosophy on its head with his affirmation, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14, KJV).

Yesterday was day two of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas. For me, it was a day to think about what it means to live a life focused on love. One of the most often quoted gospel verses is John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

I thought about how it’s really difficult to love those who hurt us, whether intentionally or not.  I also considered the idea that to be able to fully love others, we must embrace our own love and beauty for ourselves.  That statement could sound self-centered but I don’t believe it is. If we haven’t learned to really appreciate who we are, I don’t think it’s easy to appreciate or love others.

So, day two for me was a celebration of sending out New Years cards and gifts to my treasured business clients and then spending the rest of the day enjoying the town I live in and seeing it in a new perspective.

Letter photo

With a brand new loaner car while mine was in the shop, my first destination was to the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe where they had set up an ice skating rink on their front lawn for the holiday season. Since it was midday, no one was skating at the time I visited. I stepped into their reception area and found this massive Christmas tree in the center.  Inn at RSF tree

From there, I headed toward Del Mar and made a decision to stop at the Candle Shop. For all the years I’ve lived near there, I had never gone in. They make beeswax candles on the property and said they had been there for 85 years.  My purchase, a Jane Austen inspired candle with scents of gardenia, tuberose and jasmine-some of my favorite smells.

Candle shop

I had brought a manuscript I have been working on with me on the journey and decided to head to one of my favorite destinations to write–The Grand Del Mar.  The Grand is a five star hotel and could very well be Cinderella’s castle. I’m lucky to live nearby. There’s a coffee shop that overlooks their beautiful saline pool. They had an almost to the ceiling tree in the entryway and many people sat around tables in the dining area enjoying afternoon tea.

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My final destination was to view Candy Cane Lane in Rancho Penasquitos. And lo and behold what should appear, not St. Nick but Cinderella, her prince and fairy Godmothers there.

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Overall, a love-ly day.

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I’m finding that one of the beautiful things about the Christmas season is continuing the celebration after Christmas Day.  I’ve never formally celebrated twelve Days of Christmas but I think this year I’m going to try. To get started, I need to understand what the 12 Days of Christmas actually mean.

So, a Bing search came up with some interesting results.  One “Best Answer” on Yahoo answers came up with this response from Susan, (partial quote here) …”Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th but the following day is considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th)…Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God’s grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular “nonsense song,” they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?”

Over at achievebalance.com, an article describes the 12 Days of Christmas song this way, “The singer of the carol is the ordinary person who believes in Christ, and his ‘true love’ is God the Father. The accumulative pattern of going back each time through all the verses teaches the ongoing and abundant blessings of a loving God. We repeat to help us not forget what we have received. The whole song is a joyful celebration of what God has done for us.”

An article about the 12 Days of Christmas on Christianitytoday.com suggests that the traditional Christian celebration of Christmas is exactly the opposite of how the world generally celebrates Christmas, starting after November in getting ready for it and then culminating in the celebration on the 25th.

The article goes on to say, “The “real” twelve days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the “Christmas season.” They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world He made, in the form of a baby. The Logos through whom the worlds were made took up His dwelling among us in a tabernacle of flesh.”

It goes on to say that December 26 “is the feast of St. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor (as described in the carol “Good King Wenceslas”). As one of the first deacons, Stephen was the forerunner of all those who show forth the love of Christ by their generosity to the needy. But more than this, he was the first martyr of the New Covenant, witnessing to Christ by the ultimate gift of his own life.”

photoOK, so my plan for today was initially to bring these Capezzanna Olive Oil tea cakes I made yesterday to my volleyball group I’m playing with this afternoon, but I’m adding one more task: Find a homeless person to give one to.  Wish me luck.

 

 

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