Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Governor Blagojevich is on a grand tour of the state trying to gin up support for his desire to have all schools ban junk food which he described as "candy, potato chips and soda pop." Next up, teachers' lounge coffee.
Savior of the Nations Come written in 397 by Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose, son of a Roman prelate whose family became Christian early on, was appointed governor of northern Italy and in 374 selected as Bishop of Milan. His contemporaries in the church included St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom. He wrote many hymns which attracted much attention when he withstood the Empress Justina's attempt to arrest him and his followers. Ambrose wrote his hymns in Latin and the Advent hymn for today is: Veni Redemptor Gentium.
Translated from the Latin to German in 1523 by Martin Luther and from the German to English in 1851 by William Reynolds.
Illinois' own Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert issued a directive to federal officials yesterday which stipulated that the Holiday Tree which stands on the west lawn of the Capitol building, otherwise known as the Capitol Holiday Tree shall from hence forth be known as the Capitol Christmas tree. The tree, up until the late 90's had traditionally been called the Capitol Christmas tree.
A Hastert spokesman said: "The speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it is as simple as that." Simple...and sensible. How hard is that?
The Illinois High School Association approved a proposal yesterday which will allow the 751 member schools to vote on a plan to promote competitive balance between public and private high schools. There has been some frustration on the part of coaches and schools over what they see as private schools winning a disporportionate share of state titles. Since private schools can "recruit" so to speak while public schools have fixed attendance borders, the proposal asks that the private school enrollment be multiplied by 1.65. By doing this a number of private schools would be moved up in class and would be competing against schools with larger enrollments. Voting begins today and ends on December 28. If approved the new rules would be take affect for this season's basketball tournaments.
A quick look at this fall's state champions in sports other than football shows 2 out of 9 private school state champions and football had 3 of 8. I can't find an exact number of private high schools in Illinois but the total probably something under 20 percent of the total number of high schools. I would venture a guess that if this proposal passes it will not really affect the big guys like Joliet Catholic or Catholic schools in Peoria or Springfield, but instead will hurt the little ones like Breese Mater Dei and Metro East Lutheran in Edwardsville.
I asked the MAtH (man about the house) what his favorite Advent hymn was and without hesitating, he said, "Life Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates", and proceded to sing it in German. I found two sites which have the music and lyrics. The first, the Lutheran Hymnal has 3 or 4 musical versions. The second has 2. The words of this hymn were written in German by Georg Weissel in 1642 and once again translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in 1855.
Rich Miller, Illinois syndicated political columnist and operator of the state's most read blog, Capitol Fax, has invited a number of Illinois bloggers to be a part of his newest blog venture, Illinoize. Although the site has been online for about a week, Rich plans to unveil it sometime this week. Illinoize will feature posts on Illinois politics and other state issues by a compendium of active bloggers from across the state. I am honored to have been asked to be a part of this new endeavor.
The MAtH (man about the house) and I find Dianne Isbell's Monday Etiquette column in the Belleville News-Democrat timely as always this morning.
Me: Dianne has a good column today.
MAtH: By good, do you mean good or do you mean funny?
Me: Both, actually. She begins with an opening statement: "A reader who voiced disapproval about Christmas cards being sent earlier and earlier each year, had a discussion with his wife and co-workers about the topic and came up with a bunch of questions. Here are some of them and my answers."
MAtH: So what does she have to teach us about Christmas card etiquette?
Me: Number 1 is that you don't have to be number 1. There is no great honor in being the first one to send out cards. And, no one should be mailing them before December first.
MAtH: Even the First is kind of early.
Me: I kind of like getting them during the week between Christmas and New Year's when there's time to appreciate them.
MAtH: And that might be because we're often late with ours?
Me: I like to think of it as making them more memorable and Christmas goes til January 6 anyway.
Me: Anyhow, here's the best question and answer: "If I order cards with my name and my spouse's name inside, do we still have to sign them? If so, why? It seems redundant to me and begs the question: Why have your names printed inside at all?"And Dianne says: "Even though you purchase cards with preprinted names, also sign your names in ink. After all, it is to be a personal missive from you. Sign above the preprinting or below or adjacent to it or at an angle."
MAtH: hahahahaha I guess signing preprinted cards in all those different places would take the tedium out of doing the cards. You could sign each card in a different spot. What does signing on an angle mean?
Me: How about siging vertically? heh
MAtH: The question I like is about whether or not to add a personal message. The guy, I bet this one is from a guy, asks "If I want to write something in the card but not a "book," is there something general I can say?"
Me: Dianne answers that the note doesn't have to be long but it shouldn't repeat the preprinted message that comes with the card.
MAtH: But, her own suggestion sounds pretty much like what comes printed in most cards.
Me: Yep, "We hope you have a wonderful holiday season."
MAtH: Uh, oh. The dreaded H word.
Me: But, don't you think the joke is on those PC types who want the word Christmas replaced with Holiday?
MAtH: Yep. After all, Holiday really means...Holy Day.
Today marks the beginning of Advent, the period of waiting for the birth of Christ. A good explanation of the meaning of Advent is given by Pastor Walter Synder on his Xrysostom site. This is also the time many families bring out an Advent wreath which combines greens with 5 candles, 3 blue (or purple) 1 pink and a large white candle in the middle which is not lit until Christmas Day.