chrishansenhome: (Cartoon)
One of the great humbling glories of preaching is that the things that happen to you and the things that you do in response can often be used to illustrate your words to other people.

January 5, 2014 The Feast of the Epiphany
Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 10AM.
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6;
Epistle: Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6; Gospel: Matthew 2:1-2

“Go and find out all about the child.”

In the name of God, the one, the Undivided Trinity. AMEN.

Right now I’m searching for bargains in Tesco’s at the Elephant. There are specials on Christmas biscuits, 1 pound slabs of Stilton cheese, brandy sauce, and potential Christmas gifts that might be worth salting away for Christmas 2014.

The rest is behind the cut… )
chrishansenhome: (Default)
No, I haven't taken leave of my senses. Easter Sunday will still be 8 April, 2012. However, while standing in the checkout queue at Tesco's at the Elephant, I spied, with my little eye, a display of Easter eggs!

Tesco must be running on some other ecclesiastical calendar than the rest of Christendom does. After the excesses of Christmas, and the excesses of New Year's Eve to come tonight, a Cadbury's Creme Egg would be just the thing to top them off. And chocolate bunnies the perfect present for your little one as the clock ticks away toward midnight.

This tops the year when Tesco supplied Christmas puddings starting at the end of August. Those particular puddings had a "best before" date of November that year. If they wouldn't even last until Christmas, why sell them as "Christmas" puddings. Perhaps they should have been "Harvest" puddings.

Note to [ profile] trawnapanda: Luckily, peeps are not sold in this country. So you're safe until you return to the Great White North!
chrishansenhome: (Default)
It's a bit late for Christmas, but good nonetheless.

A couple was shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve and the mall was packed.

Walking through the mall the wife looked up and noticed her husband was nowhere around; she was very upset because they had a lot to do.

She used her mobile phone to call her husband to ask him where he was, because she was so upset.

In a calm voice the husband said, "Honey, remember the jewelry store we went into 5 years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we could not afford, and I told you that I would get it for you one day?"

His wife said, tearing up, "Yes, I remember that jewelry store."

He said, "Well, I'm in the bar next to it."
chrishansenhome: (Default)
We had a relatively quiet Christmas this year. [ profile] spwebdesign did not need to stay here this year as he's otherwise engaged than the choir at English Martyrs, so we had no house guests. Good thing, too, as we're still not totally recovered from the infestation of bedbugs we had a while back and have bags of clothing that need to be laundered and either hung up or donated to the jumble at church in the spare room. But, we'll get there.

Midnight Mass, which I had prepared for, was a dud. Only four people showed up, including the Rector and HWMBO, so we did not sing anything and it was over by 12:20 am. The Rector ascribed it to the abandonment of the Heygate Estate across New Kent Road, and people not wishing to walk near it to get to church at that late hour. I'm not so sure, but I'll reserve judgment.

While I was preparing for Midnight Mass, the Sky satellite box chose Christmas Eve to die on us. This means no TV until later on in the week, as today is a holiday, and so is tomorrow. So the earliest I can call them to get it replaced is Wednesday, and I can imagine how difficult it will be to get through. Will listen to the Queen's Christmas message on iPlayer later on.

Our neighbour, Mark, had nowhere to go this year so we offered him Christmas lunch. He brought crackers and cheese, and we supplied the lunch. Ham, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sprouts, with key lime pie for dessert. Befores were stuffed celery, the aforementioned cheese and crackers, and a glass of homemade egg nog.

It's peculiar that in England you must make your own egg nog; no handy quarts of egg nog in the supermarkets. So I did, just enough for three glasses. When Mark got his, he took a sip and said, "Ah, Christmas in a glass!" which seems to encapsulate the holiday season well enough.

We did not exchange presents. This is deliberate, for whatever I buy for HWMBO is just not right. So I don't dare give him anything as he won't like it, guaranteed. We have the present of each other, and that is just about right.

The key lime pie (made with regular limes) was good, but I still didn't chop the lime zest quite finely enough. However, I don't think I'll try it again as it's much too sweet for me. It does taste good, though.

Today is Boxing Day, the origins of which name are shrouded in history and much argued over. The Tube drivers are mostly on strike, which makes it difficult to go anywhere. So we'll just stay at home today and savour the peace and quiet.

I hope that you all had a very nice Christmas, are having a good Boxing Day (if you celebrate it), and will have a happy and prosperous New Year.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
Don't blame me, I got it from MadPriest, who blames someone named Michelle.

There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.

The letter read: "Dear God, I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had "£100" in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment. Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me? Sincerely, Edna."

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few pounds. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected £96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.

Christmas came and went. A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.

It read: Dear God, How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was £4 missing. I think it might have been those bastards at the post office. Sincerely, Edna."
chrishansenhome: (Default)
We had chicken, not turkey this evening, and poured no fat down the drain. However, it's apparently such a problem that some of the men tho clean out the sewers have decided to sing a seasonal carol on the subject.

chrishansenhome: (Default)
I am really tuckered out now. This afternoon SE1 tweeted that the Seizure art exhibit was still on at Harper Road. I've been meaning to visit, but hadn't gotten around to it. As I had nothing better to do this afternoon I walked over and saw it. It is an abandoned apartment which has been covered inside walls and ceiling with copper sulfate crystals. It is stunning, and it's a pity it'll be destroyed when the exhibit is over on the 3rd of January. I took pictures but they don't capture the experience very well. Then I stopped by the church on the way home to put out the candelabra we use at Christmas and Easter. Someone seems to have nicked the candle snuffers, though.

I hung out the sheets to dry after washing, and then I made my Grapenut Pudding. While it was baking, [ profile] spwebdesign arrived for our annual Christmas/Boxing Day bash—as there is no public transport on Christmas Day here, he stays with us so he can sing with his church choir. Otherwise, he wouldn't be able to make it down here.

We went out to Nando's for dinner, courtesy of [ profile] spwebdesign as his Christmas present, and then I prepared the sprouts for tomorrow's dinner. I think we should be OK for eating tomorrow.

The Anadama bread has met with HWMBO's approval, and I look forward to having the Grapenut pudding for dessert tomorrow. I made it with Splenda instead of sugar, so it should be easier on the carbs than it would be otherwise.

Soon time for bed. Santa's not stopping by tonight, AFAIK.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
Does the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army bell next to the kettle get on your nerves while Christmas Shopping?

See what can be done about it…

chrishansenhome: (Default)
As HWMBO will testify, I get grumpy when hearing endless repeats of hackneyed old Christmas songs. It probably stems from my youth when I tried to get a carol-singing group of kids together and we failed miserably at singing carols.

However, the MadPriest has been collecting examples of Christmas music to uplift (your lunch) and here is the best one so far (from Padre Mickey's blog):

chrishansenhome: (Default)
...shocked, I tell you!

While shopping in the Elephant and Castle Tesco's today I saw (wait for it) chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies.

Jesus wept!
chrishansenhome: (Default)
We had a pretty dull Christmas, really. Midnight Mass, then Mass on Christmas Day. After Mass I cooked up a pot of Mother Hansen's Spaghetti and Meatballs for our guests, Alex and [ profile] spwebdesign, who stayed with us Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because there is no public transport in the UK on Christmas Day, thus he'd have had a difficult time getting down to his RC church on Christmas Day to sing. He gave HWMBO and me books. Most interesting to me is the new biography of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I shall read it as soon as I can. We gave [ profile] spwebdesign a jar of farmer's honey. No big expenditures this year.

I made a bowl of eggnog from scratch (you can't get it in quarts here, unfortunately) and it was OK, though mostly for the alcohol. [ profile] spwebdesign brought some French bread to eat with the spaghetti, but I put it in the oven to warm up, turned the oven off before serving the spaghetti, and we all forgot about it. We had toast for dinner and for breakfast, and there's still some left.

[ profile] spwebdesign also brought a small bottle of Madeira wine, which was very nice and a good sendoff to the dessert, homemade squash and mince pies. I had squash, and realised that using molasses rather than sugar does actually affect the taste very significantly. However, it was in a good way--much more earthy.

We watched the Queen tell us how terrible the economic crisis is and watched her home movies of the baby Prince of Wales (he turned 60 last month) dressed in a baby dress crawling around the Queen. We watched several Wallace and Gromit programs, including the new one casting Wallace and Gromit as bakers A Matter of Loaf and Death and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. There was also a retrospective of Blackadder with interviews of the actors, including a pudgy Stephen Fry having his feet massaged by an African lady.

In between I took to the computer (they were watching A Shark's Tale and Doctor Who, neither of which I wanted to watch.

Thus to bed. I think I ate too much and am paying for it this morning. We will have lots of spaghetti sauce around: I froze some of it so we will have remembrances of Christmas for months to come.

When we watched the news there were endless reports on the deaths of Harold Pinter and Eartha Kitt (Christmas is a slow news day so they had lots of time to kill by running appreciations of them both). Sorry to see them both go.

We'll go out for a walk this afternoon (most everything here is closed on Boxing Day except for the stores and the public transport) and enjoy the partly sunny skies over London.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
...especially to my Antipodean friends for whom Christmas 2008 is close to being over, and to my American friends who haven't really had any yet (my friends on the West Coast are still at Midnight Mass, for those who indulge in such).

My Christmas present was iTunes suddenly losing everything. I had to recreate my library through Music Liberator, which was really easy to use and recreated the entire library from what was on my iPod. Lost a bit of the album artwork, but heigh ho!

Off to shower for Mass.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
LOLcats meet Karl Marx on December 25th. Do watch out, as the video starts without your clicking on anything and it will repeat if you let it...
chrishansenhome: (Default)
In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday", in reference to the onslaught of the Christmas buying season. There have been many words written over the last 50 years about the increasing commercialisation of Christmas, originally only the commemmoration of the birth of Christ, with the gifts coming on Epiphany (when the Three Kings brought some for the infant Jesus). I could not count the number of sermons I've heard over the last 50 years which try to get us to "put Christ back in Christmas". And then, you see what consumerism and the frenzied search for a bargain has wrought in Lond Island. I am nearly physically ill after hearing of this.

I know that none of my (very few) readers are the kind of person who would trample over a defenseless person to save $20 on a vacuum cleaner. I know that. And yet, when a crowd gathers, with one purpose, sometimes courtesy, common sense, and even humanity seem to be absent.

The final paragraph of that NY Daily News story is: "I look at these people's faces and I keep thinking one of them could have stepped on him," said one employee. "How could you take a man's life to save $20 on a TV?"

The simple pleasure of buying something for your kids or your spouse or your friends to signify the great gift that God has given to us, his only Son, has turned into a stampede to buy as much as you can in the hope that you'll get things before everyone else can get them.

I am ill.

Wake up, everyone! Christmas has turned into something that has nothing to do with the birth and the gifts that inspired the holiday. Time to stop. Think!
chrishansenhome: (Default)
Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter.

He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys.

He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The third man started searching desperately through his pocket and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The man replied, 'These are Carol's.'

Thanks to suellen from the Shep list for this...
chrishansenhome: (Default)
...speaks for itself (just click on it, reader!)

chrishansenhome: (Default) food for thought as the holidays (Christmas in the UK, and Thanksgiving as an extra added attraction for the United States) sneak up on us. The local supermarket already has a small shelf of Christmas items on sale; by the beginning of October they will have 1/3 of the store devoted to the joys of an English Christmas.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
I really dislike the Christmas and New Year holiday season here in Ould Blighty. Everything shuts down or has morbidly shortened hours, so you never know when anything is open. Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING!) shuts down for Christmas Day, with the exception of the corner stores owned and operated by Muslims. No public transport, no large stores, no nothing. Again, on New Year's Day, everything is shut. Today everything shut at 5 pm.

Tomorrow the world regains its equilibrium. Stores are open normal business hours. The shelves are almost free of Christmas junk. The first trayful of chocolate Easter eggs will be put out in Tesco's.

God's in her heaven, all's right with the world.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
As usual, I'm beat on Christmas evening; having Midnight Mass, then Christmas day Mass, then cooking, always leaves me exhausted. The Queen was suitably tasteful this afternoon, talking of the "annus horribilis" we've just had (no, she didn't use those words) and reminding us of our duty toward those who have suffered in the last year. The Christmas ham was very good (if I do say so myself), and all four of us are suitably stuffed and waiting for squash pie a bit later.

So, Merry Christmas to you all (well, Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and a very happy day to everyone else), and I hope you've all had a good day.

To those who are feeling down, hugs and much love from London to you all.

Update: The Times of London, today, referred to the Queen's talking about 2005 as an "annus horribilis". So I wasn't the only one who made the connection, I guess.
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...especially if you listen to this.

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