Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We Journey with Shepherds, Magi, Animals, and One Another


The Magi Journeying by James Tissot

No story today about growing up in the forties with the rationing of the war and the shortages on the home front. Instead, as we begin to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, I cherish three of life’s gifts: the warmth of friendship and family, the miracle of renewed spirit, and the wonder of love shared in Oneness.
         I hope that as the new year dawns, I will grow in compassion, charity, open-mindedness, and the willingness to listen to views that differ from my own.
         It is in the listening that all of us discover that we are truly One and that our differences need not divide us into warring camps but can help us appreciate the multi-faceted complexity of the human spirit.
         As Gertrud von Le Fort wrote in her poem “Corpus Christi Mysticum” in Hymns to the Church, “Everywhere there is one and never two.” My life has been given over to discovering what that line of poetry truly means.
         Always and ever, especially when I find myself at odds with others, I learn that in truth we are One, not two, no matter what seems to divide us. As the new year dawns, let us all reach out and embrace what seems to be Other, but at the deepest level is One.  
         Why today especially? Because this is the first of the twelve days of Christmas. Our celebration of Light within our lives culminates in the Epiphany on January 6 when the three kings discover, as T.S. Eliot wrote in “The Journey of the Magi,” that the stable of our own spirit and the child within each of us offer us not answers but questions about how we will live our lives.
         “The Friendly Beasts” is a carol that speaks to the Oneness of all creation. The music originated in twelfth-century France and the words we sing today are from the 1920s.
         I chose this rendition by Tennessee Ernie Ford because it features the artwork of the famous children’s illustrator and writer Tomie dePaola as well as the words of the song.


         If you enjoyed that traditional carol, you may also enjoy two others that have been favorites of mine since 1986, when a friend gave me the audiocassette “Christmas Carol,” featuring the flute of James Galway.
         One, “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol,” speaks of the loneliness we might feel on the way to Bethlehem, destiny’s end, where family, Magi, shepherds, and animals gathered as One.
         The other, “Pat-a-Pan,” speaks to the divinity within us. I believe that when we embrace our sparks of divine Oneness we make the earth whole.
         If you’d like to listen to both carols, please clink here and go to my second blog where I featured them this past Sunday.
          Next Wednesday I’ll return to my on-line memoir stories on this blog. I hope you know how grateful I am to all of you for the visits you make here each week, the comments many of you choose to leave, and the good will you extend toward my words and toward my journey of accepting the whole of my long life.
         It is peace I wish each and every one of you. Peace pressed down and overflowing. Peace that flows like a river within your heart and mind and spirit. Peace ever and always. In the new year of 2013, let us share that peace with each person whom we encounter as we go about our days.
         Peace.


42 comments:

  1. Dee, I am ever trying to better understand our Oneness and despite all the evidence to the contrary I believe it now more than ever. I hope you had a peaceful Christmas, and I thank you for reminding me of the value in these next Twelve Days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Teresa, that's it--we keep trying to understand Oneness. It's magnitude is like trying to understand whatever we call the Life Force of the Universe. As a child, I struggled to try to understand the concept of God the Father. Always, of course, that understanding eluded me. I came to understanding--through a glass darkly--only by discovering that the God I sought was in those people with whom I experienced life. I am grateful that you and are questing together. Peace.

      Delete
    2. Dear Teresa, I forget to suggest to you that, if you don't know the poem by Eliot--"The Journey of the Magi"--you look it up online. It surely always makes me consider just what our quest is about and what the birth of new life is about also. Peace.

      Delete
  2. I struggle with open mindedness because so many people have opinions that are the polar opposites of mine. I think they're extremists, and I guess they feel the same way about me.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Janie, I think that becoming open-minded is a life-long quest. Always there are new people, new experiences, new feelings that challenge us to open our minds to difference and to change. We're in this together! Peace.

      Delete
  3. Always one and never two: I must remember that, Dee. Have a peaceful and joyful holiday this Christmas. Lots of love from all of us Shrewsdays xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kate, I'm always so glad when you drop by. I'm glad the line of poetry has captured your attention. The book it came from was a gift from my Mom and Dad when I was in the convent. I read it over and over. It represents, as does Peguy's poetry, the idealistic view of Church and God. The hope we all have that all is well in our Universe. Peace.

      Delete
  4. What an inspirational thought to send us forward into 2013. One and never two...and to be intentional in setting out to embrace the opinions of others. To seek to understand others, rather than to put a division between us and someone else. You really do spread peace, Dee. You sign your posts with that blessing, and in sharing your story it is always very clear that you are a woman of peace. I send my blessing of peace back to you, Dee, hoping you realize what a special friend you have become to me, and to so many others. I wish you a healthy and peace-filled new year. I look forward to continuing to listen and learn from you, my friend. oxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Debra, you are such a dear and your kind words often make my heart leap up in joy. I feel that you, too, are a "special friend" out there in California and I count on reading your blog always and being inspired to remember the lines with which Alfred Lord Tennyson ended his poem "Ulysses": "We are not now that strength which in old days/Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are:/One equal temper of heroic hearts,/Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Peace.

      Delete
  5. It isn't always easy to except that some people have such different thoughts/ideas to my own but I do try my best not to judge people..........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jo-Anne, so good to find a comment from you. Thank you. When January dawns I hope to be able to become a follower on your blog. And you are so right--being open-minded certainly demands a lot of us. But the journey and the challenge seem so worthwhile to me. And I suspect to you also. Peace.

      Delete
  6. Happy twelve days of Christmas :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Elisa, and a happy, happy, twelve days to you also! Peace.

      Delete
  7. Dee, you have brightened and enlightened me today, as you do each time I read with you. I am so grateful for having first read your words, and all the ones thereafter, and I am grateful for your gift of words today.

    I love Tommie dePaola's illustrations, and especially these of The Friendly Beasts. I have an array of children's Christmas books and am amazed that I don't have this one. I had the pleasure of meeting Tommie dePaola a few years back at a reading/signing. He is an interesting writer. Now, I'm rambling. Too many cookies. tee hee

    Your message of peace resonates with me Dee, and the common goal of one, not two. One. Thank you as we enter this season of the journey of the Magi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Penny, thank you for your kind words and for sharing your liking for Tomie dePaola. I never met him, but I did work with him once. While I was working at Winston Press in Minneapolis, he did a book with our press. It was about a group of small children putting on a Christmas pageant in their school. In the telling of that story, Tomie also told the ancient and ever new story of the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem. It is a lovely book and somehow I've lost my copy of it. I probably gave it away to someone! You know how we all do that! Well, I can see that I'm rambling also. For me, it's not cookies but that Italian Christmas bread-- panettone. For Christmas, my niece Linda gave me a loaf baked by the Italian baker "Tre Marie," It is so delicious that I'm gaining back all the weight I lost in the last four months through Weight Watchers!!!!!

      This journeying with the Magi is a life-long quest to find Oneness with All. If you haven't read "The Journey of the Magi" by T. S. Eliot, I suggest, knowing how you like poetry, that you look for it online. It is a poem that makes the reader think rather deeply about this birth we celebrate and its meaning in our lives. Peace.

      Delete
    2. I had not read "The Journey of the Magi", Dee, but did a google search and actually came upon Eliot's reading of it in the '40s, which can be found at

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCVnuEWXQcg

      I have also printed it out, Dee, to read again and ponder. Thank you! Penny

      Oh, I know what you mean about panetone. I made the mistake of buying some and have been nibbling at it.

      Delete
    3. Dear Penny, my friend Deborah so appreciates the panetone. We are gobbling it both in the morning and in the evening. Yum! Yum! with butter on it. Double yum! Peace.

      Delete
  8. Dee: Thank you. And Peace to you my dear and wise friend. Lots of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear EC, it's almost time for my friend of 58 years to arrive! I'm excited. The pantry and refrigerator are stocked with food, and the tree awaits her "ooohing" and "aaaahing." That's the expectation I always have at Christmas time when friends stop by. That they will oooh and aaah! It's the one expectation I have....and the truth is that I'm seldom disappointed. My brother was here Christmas Eve and he said, tongue in cheek, "Well, Dolores, I can that there's one branch without an ornament on it! Missed it didn't you!!!!" I like my tree to look like my picture of a sugar-plum-fairy tree festooned with treasured ornaments from my 76 years. Memories laden the tree! Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A real Christmas gift of a post, Dee. Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful time with your friend and I look forward to accompanying you further in this blogging journey in 2013.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Perpetua, you're welcome and thank you for all the postings you've done this year that have so enlightened and uplifted my spirit. And thank you for saying that you look forward to more of my on-line memoir this coming year. I'm not sure where I'm going with it!

      Deborah and I went to see "Les Miserables" today. A wonderful film that I'd go back and see tomorrow if we had time! Peace.

      Delete
  11. I always loved Tennessee Ernie Ford's voice and the illustrations are beautifully done! Yes, I remembered that song, Dee. :)

    Enjoy your time with your dear, dear friend!! *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rita, I'm glad you enjoyed the video. I so appreciate that song and I know and and Karma must also. Hugs!!!!! and Peace.

      Delete
  12. I am absolutely certain we're all in this together. Whether that means we're all One, I don't know yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Linda, like you I think we are all together in this journey to wholeness. For me that means Oneness but I honor and respect whatever word anyone uses for that which gives meaning to life. And not knowing where we are in our belief about something is simply for me a sign that the journey is longer and so I will embrace even more of life. Peace.

      Delete
  13. Peace to you too, Dee :)

    Happy New Year :)

    -B-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Baiba, thank you so much and happy new year to you for all of the 365 days of 2013! Peace.

      Delete
  14. Peace and many blessings in the new year to you, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sherry, thanks so much for stopping by and for signing on as a reader of this blog. I appreciate that so much. It's a final gift from the year 2012. On Tuesday I'll return to reading blogs and so I'll be seeing yours and commenting. Peace.

      Delete
  15. Oh Dee, what a lovely benediction you've left us with this post. I appreciated your further thoughts on achieving oneness, and see this in a different light than I had previously. Bless you for your insightful gifts, and for sharing these gifts with your readers.

    Wishing you all the peace you send out to the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sandi, so good to hear from you. I hope your school year is going well and that you are enjoying an abundance of health. I hope to get back to reading blogs this coming week. So you'll see me drop by! Peace.

      Delete
  16. How wonderful to start the new year with the blessing of your words and the prayer they offer for all of us. You remind me to be grateful for it all. You help me know that everything that happens is a gift. Wishing you a most blessed new year - may you receive all that you give many times over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Deb, may you, too, have a blessed new year and may the surgery you had a couple of months ago give you new mobility. I'm hoping that you experience a great new freedom of movement. Peace ever and always.

      Delete
  17. A lovely post Dee for the end of the year. Today is a New Year though and I wish you many upcoming joys and magical moments – best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Vagabonde, I'm always so pleased when I see a comment from you. I know you travel a lot and so it makes me think that you are settling back into your home life for a while again. I so love your New Year's wish for me "upcoming joys" and "magical moments." I look forward to both. Peace.

      Delete
  18. merry christmas my dear dee and also i hope you enjoy a lovely and happy 2013

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Bev, I'm been away from blogging for a couple of weeks at least and it's going to last longer because of the contest I posted about yesterday. So I've missed your great good sense, your wit, and your sense of the ridiculous! All of those traits that gleam within you, just delight me when I read your postings. Peace.

      Delete
  19. What a lovely read, Dee! I, too, arrive here- in fact after New Year. Have a wonderful year, and thank you for all the beautiful and inspiring posts of 2012.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kate, thank you also for your postings that always expand my world. Peace.

      Delete
  20. How wonderful! I love this carol and haven't thought of it for years -- and Tennessee Ernie Ford was one of my favourites. What a treat -- even if it is the day after Valentine's Day and not Christmas!

    ReplyDelete