Advent 1

For today, the first of December and the first Sunday of Advent, a picture, and a poem by Ann Ellerton with which my daughter and I sometimes began our homeschooling day during this season.

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Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.
See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move quietly.
Earth is waiting, wrapped in sleep,
Waiting in a silence deep.
Birds are hid in bush and reed
Flowers are sleeping in their seed.

Through the woodland to and fro
Silent-footed creatures go.
Hedgehog curled in prickly ball
Burrows beneath the leaves that fall.
Man and beast and bird and flower
Waiting for the midnight hour
Waiting for the infant’s birth
Down from Heaven, onto Earth.

—Ann Ellerton

CakeChrysanthMelissa

CakeBalloons2Chuck

Where There Is Darkness, Light

For the the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi today, I post a painting from the series of Washington National Cathedral, where this coming Sunday you can take your pet to be blessed in honor of that kindly friend of all living creatures.

I also post below the well-known Prayer of St. Francis, which might come in handy at this time if distributed among the less law-abiding members of Congress.

ArchesStainedGlass

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

—St. Francis of Assisi

CakeCarrotsDominique

Mothers Day

CapitolHillGarden

On my way back from the Library of Congress one morning, it was such a beautiful day that I took my time strolling through Capitol Hill, and I came across this mysterious garden—completely fenced, with no apparent connection to any of the surrounding houses, and bearing no sign, yet obviously cared for.

Often I carry my sketchbook without taking the opportunity to use it, but this time I justified my delayed return in order to sketch a subject so suitable to the season. Happy Mothers Day, all you Blessed Mothers everywhere, past, present, and to come!

Light the Advent Candle

AdventI

For this week of Advent, the verse we sing at the dinner table while lighting the first candle.

Light the Advent Candle One.
Now the waiting has begun.
We have started on our way;
Time to think of Christmas Day.

Candle, candle, burning bright,
Shining in the cold winter night,
Candle, candle, burning bright,
Fill our hearts with Christmas light.

CakeSnowmanBrian