Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Meditation by Metropolitan Philip Saliba


What shall I offer you on your birthday in return for your infinite love?

I have neither gold nor silver, neither myrrh nor frankincense.

My house is without a roof. I have no room for you; not even a manger.

My soul is even darker than the clouds of my passion.

My eyes are too dim to look beyond the horizon of myself.

Help me behold your bright star; "For in thy light we shall see light."


You have been knocking on my door for thirty-nine years, but I never dared let you in because my garment is not white as snow.

Forgive me if I do not invite you to my table, for my table is full of everything you despise. I have denied you more than Peter.

I have doubted you more than Thomas.

I have betrayed you more than Judas.

My hands are empty. My lips are not clean to sing your praise.

And my heart is wrinkled with sorrow like a withered leaf under autumn's wind.


The only thing I can offer you on your birthday is myself.

Drown me in the ocean of your love.

Feed me with your heavenly bread, for the bread of this world will never satisfy my hunger.

Quench my thirst with your divine fountain, for the water of this earth will never satisfy my thirst.

Give me your eyes to see what you see, your ears to hear what you hear and your heart to love what you love.

Take me with you to Mount Tabor and let me bathe in your eternal light.


"Create a clean heart in me. Cast me not away from Thy face. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit."

Teach me how to pray in simple words, for only through prayers I may overcome my loneliness.
Help me to care for the needy, the oppressed, the orphans, the sinners and the despised whom you love.

As I kneel before your manger with love and humility I beseech you to listen to my prayers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be aSCROOGE!!! Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into anew e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that theyapply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know,INCLUDING the person that sent it to you......Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags??? brown paper lunch bags, stapled shut

2. Real tree or Artificial??? Artificial, alas. Real ones make me congested.

3. When do you put up the tree? The last few years since my mother died, its been later and later. I used to put it up on Thanksgiving weekend, but now it doesn't get done until mid-December.

4. When do you take the tree down? after January 7th.

5. Do you like egg nog?? Yes, I love it, even though I got a wicked hangover from Melvin's "special homemade" eggnog a couple of years ago. I think he "made" it in the bathtub.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My annual box of 64 Crayola crayons

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Multiple ones!

8. Hardest person to buy for? My ex husband. Every year, including this one, I get him a DVD. DD just told me yesterday that he doesn't have a dvd player. Damn luddite.

9. Easiest person to buy for? DD - barnes and noble gift card does it for her

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?? I don't do cards of any type - never have. I will send email cards on occasion. friends and family who don't have an email address are out of luck.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't remember any, truthfully

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Hm.... I think its probably A Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th St. I almost wet my pants the first time I saw A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?? When I can't avoid it anymore

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present??? Yes

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas??? Panettone and pizzelle

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree??? Clear lights that don't blink. The more the better. When I turn my tree on, there should be a brown out in my neighborhood, or I haven't don't it right.

17. Favorite Christmas song?? Most favorite is Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming, and second favorite is O Holy Night in French

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, but sometimes I think it would be fun to go somewhere unexpected, like Aruba or Lake Sunapee NH

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? No, but I can name all the Von Trapp children. There are seven of them. I can also name all the B Street children. Does that count?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I always have both. The tree is on the tippy top with an angel immediately below it

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?? When I was a kid, we always opened them at night after midnight mass, but once I was a mother, I saw the wisdom of Christmas morning gift opening.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year??? Office gift exchanges. Nuff said. Actually, I kinda think the whole gift giving thing is out of hand in our culture. I'm happy with just our Christmas stockings full of little things and candy.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color??? I've got enough ornaments to fill half a dozen trees, but I always start with red balls; sometimes they are red apples, sometimes they are two red balls, one dark red and shiny and the other bright red and satin, hung together. My favorite ornaments, though, are the ones that I've collected over the years to commemorate different places I' ve been, or events, or stages of DD's life, or pets. These ornaments tell the story of our life. I love the several grandmother and grandfather ornaments that I got for my parents. Now that my mother is gone, for the third year, I've gotten a pig with angel wings ornament. This year's pig is sparkly, with red lipstick! Mom collected little pigs because she was so grateful to have a porcine heart valve keeping her alive for many years.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner??? My favorite Christmas dinner exists in my memory: chicken in wine, stuffed artichokes, ravioli, bracciola, salad, chocolate chestnut pizza. Nowadays, I prefer to keep things much more simple, esp since the ex visits over Christmas and I don't like to inflict him on guests

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? college tuition for DD

26. Person most likely to respond to this email? everyone responds to MOI

27. Who is least likely to respond to this? see number 26

Ok, tag! You're it!