It will be a different Friday before Easter this year. Perhaps we should prepare our hearts for it more than ever! We, as Christians, always have referred to this special day as GOOD FRIDAY. A reason for saying it is “good” is because it is the beginning of the journey of our Savior to the cross, Who gave Himself for the people of the world. The Friday had to come before the glorious Easter Day of RESURRECTION. So, how do we prepare these few days before Friday…especially if there are some who don’t understand this special day of Christian worship?
For my readers throughout the world who may not be Christian, this may help you understand the Power of the Cross in Christianity. Please read with an open mind. Ask God to speak to you and give you His truth of salvation. May you find, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your trust in the Savior Who came to be punishment for all your sins and mine.
THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION was given to the Jews within their own Hebrew scriptures. Not only does the New Testament give this account, but parts of the Old Testament give the crucifixion as a prophecy of the events to happen. One of these is in Psalms 21, “My God, my God why have You forsaken me…O my God, I cry out by day and you answer not. I cry out by night and there is no relief for me. All my bones are racked. My heart has become like wax melting away within my chest. My throat is dried up like baked clay, My tongue cleaves to my jaw. They have pierced my hands and my feet…” Psalm 68 “…in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
THE HISTORY of the STATIONS OF THE CROSS:
In many churches and cathedrals around the world, there are pictures of the Stations of the Cross. Having originated in Jerusalem, the pictures are to duplicate Jesus’ trip on the Via Dolorosa before his crucifixion. Jerusalem fell to the forces of Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1187. Forty years later Saint Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan, came back to Jerusalem and proclaimed certain holy places as places of Christian devotion. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they built outdoor shrines which later were introduced as stations. Faithful Christians read the gospels as they visit these stations to remember the suffering of the Savior…usually on Fridays. There are traditionally 14 pictorial stations mounted on church walls. The resurrection station is sometimes included as the last station because without the resurrection of Christ, there is no gospel.
Pictures of selected Stations of the Cross from around the world:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
In the past, on Good Friday, concerts are given around the world. Often these are requiems of a somber nature. This year, because of the Coronavirus, the depictions throughout Europe and other part of the world will not be reenacted. The great concert halls will be empty. Yet, we must not allow this to change our focus on the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We will turn to our TV’s and recordings and bow our heads as we remember the terrible day on the cross. In just a few days after Friday will come the great morning of RESURRECTION. Prepare your hearts now with the beautiful music I’d like to share with you today…Laudate Dominum by Mozart, sung by Aksel Rykkvin
(After the music…come back to see the pages of the Stations of the Cross.)
- TURN UP SOUND and enlarge picture for best viewing.
- 2nd link showing the description of the Stations of the Cross
Click this link below and follow each station by clicking on “next”:
Christmas is often called the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” This may be because when the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Savior, the world looked for many things to be made right through a strong leader. Most believed that the Messiah would bring peace and a new world order. He would come in glory to accomplish this task.
How disappointing for those who refused the humble birth. How could it possibly be? Yet, God’s ways are mostly not our ways. He chooses to accomplish His purposes even if they do not fit what we expect.
We often hear the question, “What would Jesus do?” As we look to Him for our daily answers to human problems, we are looking for a man’s point of view…even a Holy, Incarnate Man as He was. My question in this blog post is different. What would the Mother of the Son of God do?
This woman, who was young, was told by an angel a shocking message for her and her fiance, Joseph.
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored!”
The Gospel of Luke says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to a son. The angel told Mary that she should call her son Jesus. The angel also said that Jesus would save people from their sins. Mary asked the angel how she could be pregnant since she was a virgin.
After the birth, the angel appeared again:
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Mary, like any Mother, watched her Son, Jesus grow and learn. She was there when he performed miracles and saw him be betrayed and given into the hands of those who would crucify him. Her sorrows were practically more than she could endure.
The Ressurection and the Ascending into heaven by her Son followed as part of her life. Throughout it all, this woman knew that God was in control.
So…back to the question...If Mary had to face some of the family sorrows that we face today, what would she do? We think of this perfect Mother, highly venerated, who would do no wrong. Yet, she was as human as any of us. Would she advise us to look at the Holy Scriptures when the father waited and waited for his son who had left home? Would she say to never give up hope? Would she point to this father (and perhaps a waiting mother) who finally saw his prodigal son coming from afar who had seen the error of his ways?
Would she have forgiven when children neglected their older parents and simply be grateful for those who are loving and caring, like her Son who asked a disciple to care for her as he died on the cross? Does this mean that a person not a member of the immediate family might be more caring and loving than the blood relation?
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)
All these are hard questions, but as a Mother, she would understand things from a woman’s (and Mother’s) point of view.
Even the first miracle that Christ performed had to do with a problem of a social nature. At the wedding in Cana, Mary was concerned about the fact that the hosts had run out of wine. Jesus felt that His time to reveal His power or that He was the Messiah had not come, but He listened to His Mother’s request for help. He turned the water into wine, which the guests realized to be the best wine. Mary knew Jesus’ power to step into the lives of others in small or great issues. He also wants the best for us regardless of the circumstances.
You may also have some questions for Mary if you could speak to the Mother of the Savior and if she could hear you from heaven. I certainly do. Here is what Mary would do and say… “Take it to Jesus for it is in Him that God with the Holy Spirit answers prayers. He is the beloved Son of God.”
Life is complicated for so many of us. We pray that at this time when we see the beautiful pictures or works of art representing the Mother and Child that we will remember that her faith was strong and unwavering. Her pain was real and so was her joy as she trusted in God to work through the events that seemed beyond help.
Happy New Year from Boyer Writes.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
“All that glitters is not gold.”
Do you know where this term originated? For our Thanksgiving post, I’d like to share with you a bit of history…and say that this is a most true statement. We think of solid gold that has great value, as in jewelry or other ornaments. Sometimes we even speak of people as being “worth their weight in gold.” Gold is a precious commodity. Nations have fought over it. Great gold pieces have been stolen from one land to another. Gold miners hoped to strike it rich and bet everything in their lives to seek its source. Yet, there are some things that are even more wonderful than gold.
“The original form of this phrase was ‘all that glisters is not gold’. The ‘glitters’ version long ago superseded the original and is now almost universally used.
“Shakespeare is the best-known writer to have expressed the idea that shiny things aren’t necessarily precious things. The original editions of The Merchant of Venice, 1596, have the line as ‘all that glisters is not gold’. ‘Glister’ is usually replaced by ‘glitter’ in modern renditions of the play…
Various different ways of expressing the idea that ‘all that glitters/glisters is not gold’ were in general circulation well before Shakespeare’s day and it was a common enough notion to have been called proverbial by the 16th century. The 12th-century French theologian Alain de Lille wrote:
“Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold”.
Geoffrey Chaucer also expressed the same idea in Middle English in the poem The House of Fame, 1380 –
“Hit is not al gold, that glareth”.
Nevertheless, it is Shakespeare who gave us the version we now use.” (The Phrase Finder)
So often the color, yellow, is associated with gold. The sun shines a ray of golden light onto the earth to bring us the things that do not sparkle, as may real gold, but can be enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is God’s gift to share with us the beautiful golden colors of Fall and throughout the universe with the golden twinkle of a star. A stripe of gold may adorn a small bird, a little flower, a sunset and many other things on earth. Even the color on my “golden” retriever, Gracie, is a special beauty…and she did not glitter…but oh, was so precious. We have “golden” anniversaries and friendship that we would not trade for even a tiny speck of gold. We are blessed beyond the price of gold with God’s love to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, not all gold glitters..or in Shakespearean days, “glisters.”
Boyer Writes brings you one of the most beautiful works of photography in this video entitled: “Sun Paints us Gold” by Tim Janis
To all our readers: May your blessings be many in the year to come.
A count-down to new opportunities! (Turn up sound)
Christmas has come and gone, but a wonderful blogger friend of mine in England sent me a post about the choir that sang of the birth of our Lord Jesus at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Stephen Liddell, author and tour guide, is a blogger with over 3,000 followers. He waited in line for two hours to get into St. Paul’s to hear the King’s College Choir of Cambridge. He said that it was “well worth it.”
Christmas may be over, but I just had to share this same song from a previous year. Our prayers for the New Year should be that the message of “Oh Holy Night” and the Savior who came will help our world to be more peaceful in the year to come.
Video: (If the video shows unavailable, click “Watch on YouTube” link given.)
Happy New Year to all
Christmas Eve was silent as a baby was born in the manger. He was wrapped carefully by his mother, Mary, in faraway Bethlehem. Here in the United States and around the world, many families go to church on Christmas Eve to sing “Silent Night” and to remember this special event.
Afterward, parents tucked their children safely in bed…hoping they would go to sleep… as they wait for a special visit from Santa Claus. The stockings are hung and the presents are hidden under the tree.
Santa must be very tired when all is said and done. Guiding his sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve was no easy job. What every Santa needs on Christmas is to find some peace and rest. Here on earth, the presents he brought have been unwrapped. The aromas from the stoves cooking Christmas dinner drift around the houses of the neighborhoods. We know the elves have closed up shop, but it leads us to wonder about something else.
“When Santa finished driving his sleigh to the homes of all the good little boys and girls around the world, what did he do with the reindeer?
On Christmas Day, Santa let his reindeer have some fun. He took them to the races!
What races? The reindeer races in Lapland and Finland, of course. Want to see?
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR READERS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Hurry, hurry, hurry! Off they go to shop for that last minute, special Christmas present! Crowds gather in the food court to get a bite to eat after a long, exhausting day. Ordinary people sitting with not-so-ordinary people, who are about to share their love for Christ in concert….not in a church…but wherever one may be…even a shopping mall. See the surprise for the unsuspecting…bringing the focus back to the real meaning of Christmas. Well, why not? It may be the only sacred music heard by many. The Holy Scriptures tells us to “Go into all the world…”
Video Turn up sound
Boyer Writes presents Christmas music for your inspiration.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
There are some times of the year that are fascinating not only to the young at heart, small children, but to our furry friends.
This Christmas music is dedicated to them…with all our love!
Slide presentation: A special dedication to our military and their dogs
For your listening pleasure!
Turn up sound (Favorite Christmas music with the Hallelujah Chorus)
President George HW Bush called for a “kinder nation” and from time to time we will see evidence that there are many kind people in the world. The shame is that most stories we see on TV or on the internet are of the violent and outrageous.
I began looking for some actual videos of kindness…or pictures to prove that it does not matter to what nationality or race one belongs…KINDNESS is kindness…and it crosses all boundaries.
I read about a woman on an airline who had a crying 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. A woman offered to help and hold a child throughout the flight. The mother was so grateful.
I understand this well in that I had three children on an airline from California to Florida. My daughter, who was a baby, cried off and on the entire trip. My sons tried to ignore it and curled up on the floor to sleep. That, in itself, was a no-no. I’m certain the other passengers were beside themselves with hostile thoughts, but no one wanted to reach out to help and make things better. We all lived through it…but barely. One does not realize that it is sometimes impossible to silence a tired, upset child who is used to his/her routine, safely back at home in the bed.
Another act of kindness was a young 13-year-old who went outside in the rain with an umbrella to help an elderly gentleman get home. There is definitely hope for the next generation. This young man made his mother proud…and he should be also.
I happen to be an animal lover. It is easy to love all animals. It is not so easy to love the down and out who may or may not have made their own bed and are now lying in it. Nevertheless, these are exactly the kind of people to whom Jesus Christ reached out …the beggar, the harlot, the unclean and pathetic. He calls us to do the same…not just during Christmas when we have a warm, cheerful heart… but always. We may be the only face of “Christ” that they will see…or the only hands and heart that shows God’s love.
Below is a video that calls for people of all walks of life to reach out to a fellow human being…or an animal that is in distress. Saving a life or making one just a little better is what we need today…this Christmas…and always. Bring your kindness to someone today.
Mathew 25:40 “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me.”
Christmas is a time of celebration and belief…belief in the true Christmas when the Savior of the World was born…belief in the joys that surround Christmas. Many of these joys come in different forms. It may be the decorating of the Christmas tree with all the old ornaments that have been carefully put away for another year. It could be baking of a special pie or the wrapping of a present for a special person. The choirs that sing our once a year music and the garlands and wreaths that are hung… bring a light and hope to our lives and in our churches. Some of those lights are bathed in sunlight and swaying moss from the trees, as here in my home state of Florida or in the beautiful snow-covered churches further up north.
Some say that Christmas is for children. We know it is a special time for them, but the true meaning of Christmas is for everyone.
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
To have the faith of a child…to be able to hear the ringing inside a small bell when grown-ups have ceased to hear it because of disbelief…is the theme of one of the most loved and cherished of Christmas films, The Polar Express. available online
Recently, my husband and I sat down and watched the entire film. It had been many years since we had seen it, but the “magic” was still there. Tom Hanks plays various parts with different voices, which is analyzed in the video below to the meaning behind the characters presented in this great film.
At this special season, Boyer Writes would suggest that you gather your children or grandchildren around to enjoy the full-length film. You are never too old to bring the joy of belief into your life. In today’s world, we all need to seek to believe in the sacred meaning of Christmas and also in the joys and magic of Merry Christmas that we may have left behind in our childhood!
You may be decorating your house…cooking some beautiful loaves of nut bread for the neighbors or just relaxing. Once Thanksgiving is passed, we go out to find the best frasier fir tree we can find and the decorating begins. It is a great time when we pull out the ornaments that we’ve collected over the years…hang the Moravian Star on the front porch and enjoy the lights of the neighborhood that are beginning to shine.
Whatever you’re doing, simply listen to the joy of Christmas music. It’s guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season. Enjoy!
For your peaceful mind and heart…the unfailing love of our Lord and Savior. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! from Boyer Writes
We have all heard the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”, but what if some of the people you love will not be there? What if you were not invited to be with your family members in some other location? You may have a family member in the military that is far away and the thing he or she would like most is to be with family, but it is impossible. The song mentioned above is a heartbreak song for many.
There also may be family members who don’t want to share Christmas with you and have made that choice. It is never easy to come to the realization that someone does not want to be with you on one of the most special times of the year…especially for Christians. The question is…How does One deal with a reality at this time of year…or anytime, for that matter?
We really have one of two choices. It can be to let our emotions and disappointment weigh us down OR turn our directions toward a time of thankfulness for all the other blessings that we have.
First, look around you. Do you have other family members who are excited to be with you? Lavish them with your love…for they have not turned away. Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table? Rest in your most comfortable chair and eat with gratefulness. When the old, dark thoughts begin to come back and cloud your day, refuse them and look at the stars or the beautiful trees outside and realize that this life is too short to spend it in mourning…especially things that you can’t change.
Take someone by the hand and give them this message:
For us here in Florida, it may be down by the lake or through a green park, looking at the winter flowers.
Decorate a tree or a bush outside. Turn on some cheerful Christmas music…sacred or otherwise. I never knew how anyone could come up with lyrics like “Grandmother got run over by a reindeer”…but maybe it is good to chuckle and then shake your head because we would never say something like that about our Grandmother.
Give your pet an extra pat on the head and a bone in his stocking. What, no stocking for your dog!? Find one. Our beautiful 14-year-old Golden Retriever passed away this year, but I still strung lights around her memorial garden and whispered to her beautiful spirit, “These lights are just for you, Gracie”. Surprisingly, a beautiful rose appeared on the bush above her little tombstone in the middle of winter.
If none of these spark your imagination or lift your spirits about missing family or friends, turn toward someone outside the family. The scriptures tell us something that we should be doing, not only at Christmas but always.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
My husband and I have been surprised on returning to Florida from Virginia, how many people around us are either recent widows or in the last few years have become widowers. We decided to visit them for a while to listen to their thoughts and feelings. One lady has just recently lost her husband and will be having Christmas lunch with us. I mention this to say that when we are feeling “blue” about family situations, it changes things when we reach out.
Don’t forget the different organizations that make it possible to help children who are in need. Recently a child had written to her teacher that he only wanted Santa to bring a ball, some food and added…”I need a blanket.” If that does not pull you out of doldrums, you may need to examine charities like Samaritan’s Purse that brings smiles to children around the world. ( See Operation Christmas Child..Samaritan’s Purse)
Christmas is not all about giving or getting. I recently told someone that if I would receive a letter from my children saying anything of appreciation for me as their Mother, THAT would be “the best Christmas present of all.” So often Christmas is hard on those who have had expenses throughout the year and the funds are just not there for presents of any kind. Kind words and thoughtfulness is only the cost of a 50 cent stamp.
I close with this thought, with the help of a little friend, on the real reason for the need to choose a better outlook on the season:
VIDEO Winchester Cathedral Choir (Turn up sound)
Boyer Writes wishes everyone a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving….whether it is in your culture to celebrate this day or not…we pass along love and thankful hearts to you our readers.
Music Video Turn up sound
Happy 4th of July from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
There was nothing HAPPY for the 56 men who signed the American Declaration of Independence at the birth of our nation. Do you know what happened to some of them?
It was brought to my attention today in our church service that there was a price for freedom that these men paid. Some suffered right away when they were captured by British troops and others suffered later through loss of fortune or brutal acts against them. They may have known that they were risking their lives to take such a public stand. Counting the cost is difficult to do before one acts. Regardless of how their contributions in becoming signers of the Constitution effected them and their families, we know from history that their lives were not a bed of roses.
Standing up for freedom and democracy is not popular, even today, with those who would be against it and wish to destroy it. The following gives us an account of a few of these men who made the choice to stand up and be counted:
- Five signers were captured by the British as traitors They were considered prisoners of war while actively engaged in military operations against the British. George Walton was captured after being wounded while commanding militia at the Battle of Savannah in December 1778, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge (three of the four Declaration of Independence signers from South Carolina) were taken prisoner at the Siege of Charleston in May in 1780. Richard Stockton of New Jersey was the only signer taken prisoner specifically because of his status as a signatory to the Declaration, “dragged from his bed by night” by local Tories after he had evacuated his family from New Jersey, and imprisoned in New York City’s infamous Provost Jail like a common criminal.
- Twelve of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had their homes ransacked and burned. Their property was subject to seizure when it fell along the path of a war being waged on the North American continent.
- Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Abraham Clark of New Jersey saw two of his sons captured by the British and incarcerated on the prison ship Jersey. John Witherspoon, also of New Jersey, saw his eldest son, James, killed in the Battle of Germantown in October 1777.
- Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts.
- Properties of William Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Thomas Heyward, Edward Rutledge, and Middleton were looted. The British needed supplies and these stately homes were a good source. Little concern during war time is given to the family that dwells therein.
- Some homes of the signers, such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, Benjamin Rush and Robert Morris were occupied by the British during the war. They also were unfortunate victims whose property fell in the path of an armed conflict being waged on American soil.
- Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died of poor health. Francis Lewis represented New York in the Continental Congress, and shortly after he signed the Declaration of Independence his Long Island estate was raided by the British. While Lewis was in Philadelphia attending to congressional matters, his wife was taken prisoner by the British.
- John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children, who were adults at the time, fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead. John Hart of New Jersey, had been Speaker of the Assembly.
Morris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Lewis Morris saw his Westchester County, New York, home taken over in 1776 and used as a barracks for soldiers, and the horses and livestock from his farm commandeered by military personnel of the Continental Army. Shortly afterwards his property was appropriated, looted, and burned by the British when they occupied New York. Morris and his wife were eventually able to reclaim their property and restore their home after the war. Philip Livingston lost several properties to the British occupation of New York and sold off others to support the war effort, and he did not recover them because he died suddenly in 1778, before the end of the war.
For your further knowledge: FIFTY FACTS ABOUT THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and the listing of all the signers by states.
All of our country celebrates today the wonderful independence that we have as a nation. It is by God’s grace that we can enjoy all that is part of our United States today. We must never forget the founding fathers who risk everything to make it happen and those who have come afterwards to fight for and preserve that independence and freedom.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY from BOYER WRITES to ALL OUR READERS
VIDEO Turn on sound:
To Those Christians who Serve in our Armed Forces for a strong America, we honor you this Christmas season as we remember the birth of the Savior, Jesus.
To those Jewish military who celebrate Hanukkah, thank you for your service. ( Hanukkah is the Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. It is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.)
To all veterans everywhere, we honor you for your service to our country.
Video 1: The U.S.Air Force Band Holiday Flash at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)
They are brave…bold…courageous…and sometimes just for fun to show love of country and patriotism to a very big audience. Want to try this in the New Year? Thanks to the U.S. Navy Seals (Leap Frogs) who train for everything to be ready on sea and in the air! America Strong!
Video 2 Members of the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, jump into Neyland Stadium to kick off the Orange vs. White UT Vols Spring Scrimmage football game as part of Knoxville Navy Week, April 16, 2016
Arriving from Germany, my son handed me a slightly squashed gift of marzipan that he had pressed into his suitcase to bring home as a treat for the Christmas season. (Delicious! Thanks, Steve!)
Arranging the marzipan along with the chocolate chip cookies and the tasty treat from my neighbor, I decided to look into the history of marzipan. ( My husband did not think this would be one of my more inspirational or exciting blogs…but I happen to be inquisitive…so here goes. Maybe I can “spice” it up a bit with some mouth-watering German goodies in between the information.)
My research on marzipan brought me to this article on the subject of marzipan written by Johann George Niederegger who was born in 1777 in Ulm and owned Maret Confectioners in Lubeck, Germany
Niederegger wrote: “…Marzipan was invented far away, where almonds and sugar are grown. Rhazes, a Persian doctor who lived from 850 to 923, wrote a book in which he praised the curative qualities of almond and sugar paste. When the crusaders returned from the Orient, they brought with them a host of spices and Oriental secrets.
In 13th century Venice, Naples and Sicily, spices and confectionery were generally traded in tiny boxes. The enchanting word “Mataban” (box) gradually came to be used for the contents of the box: Mazapane (Italian), Massepain (French.), Marzipan (German).
Did you know that even back in the 13th century, the renowned philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas reflected upon the indulgence of eating Marzipan? In his doctrinal teaching, he reassures inquiring and anxious clerics: “Marzipan does not break the fast.”
In his stories, the great novelist Boccaccio clearly describes the correlation between passion and marzipan. In those days, marzipan was topped with gold leaf to crown the sweet temptation.
Great Hanseatic merchant boats brought spices and other prized ingredients to the North. Initially, however, only apothecaries were allowed to trade with sugar and spices. Not until confectionery became a trade in its own right were so-called ‘canditors’ allowed to produce marzipan.
The first Europeans to indulge in marzipan were kings and rich people. It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth I of England, who lived from 1533 to 1603, was addicted to all things sweet. The saying ‘regal enjoyment’ was coined.
Later, at the French ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV’s sumptuous feasts, huge tables laden with marzipan were the order of the day. Marzipan reproductions of all sorts of fruits, poultry and game were created – anything you desired could be made.
In the first half of the 19th century, the general population were now able to sample the almond delicacy to their heart’s content in coffee houses. Now that sugar could be extracted from sugar beet, the costly luxury became slightly more affordable. Marzipan was also particularly popular and prized in Lübeck.
I would now like to tell you something about my life: as a young man, I left my home town of Ulm to become apprenticed to a confectioner, Maret, in Lübeck. In 1806 I was able to open up my own shop. I supplied my wares to kings and tsars. From then on, my reputation grew, thanks to excellent quality. My recipe for marzipan: as many almonds as possible, as little sugar as necessary – is secret, and has been passed on from generation to generation…”
Whether a sugary treat or the many Christmas traditions handed down from Germany to countries around the world, we can all enjoy Christmas music in any language.
The song on this video, Vom Himmel Hoch da komm’ ich her (Eine Version aus dem Jahre 1979) was written by Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote this hymn for his five year old son, Hans. It was not published until four years later. It was sung at the annual Christmas Eve festival at the Luther home. A man dressed as an angel would sing the opening verses. The children would greet him with the verse, “Welcome to earth, thou noble guest…” (Perhaps they even had the treats of marzipan at the festival.)
From Heaven above to earth I come,
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing.
To you, this night, is born a Child
Of Mary, chosen mother mild;
This tender Child of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all your earth.
‘Tis Christ our God, who far on high
Had heard your sad and bitter cry;
Himself will your Salvation be,
Himself from sin will make you free.
He brings those blessings long ago
Prepared by God for all below;
That in His heavenly kingdom blest
You may with us forever rest.
These are the tokens ye shall mark,
The swaddling clothes and manger dark;
There shall ye find the young Child laid,
By Whom the heavens and earth were made.
Now let us all, with gladsome cheer,
Follow the shepherds, and draw near
To see this wondrous Gift of God,
Who hath His own dear Son bestowed.
Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes!
What is it in yon manger lies?
Who is this Child, so young and fair?
The blessèd Christ Child lieth there!
Welcome to earth, Thou noble Guest,
Through Whom e’en wicked men are blest!
Thou com’st to share our misery,
What can we render, Lord, to Thee!
Ah, Lord, who hast created all,
How hast Thou made Thee weak and small,
To lie upon the coarse dry grass,
The food of humble ox and ass.
Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.
For velvets soft and silken stuff
Thou hast but hay and straw so rough,
Whereon Thou King, so rich and great,
As ’twere Thy heaven, art throned in state.
Thus hath it pleased Thee to make plain
The truth to us, poor fools and vain,
That this world’s honor, wealth and might
Are naught and worthless in Thy sight.
Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Here in my poor heart’s inmost shrine,
That I may evermore be Thine.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient cradle song.
Glory to God in highest Heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given,
While angels sing, with pious mirth,
A glad New Year to all the earth.
Nestled in the center of Florida, USA, is a tiny town called Howey in the Hills. Yes, there are actually hills here, as the center of the state has beautiful rolling hills that visitors to the state rarely see. There is much more to Florida than theme parks.
Let me introduce you to Howey. It has one blinking light, a caring and protective police force, one small library, a doctor’s office, post office, a convenience store with gas and a market with a deli, and two beauty salons. An active Community church holds a live nativity scene each year, often with farm animals. Recently our 101 year old resident turned his work of art landscaping into the new town’s Blevins Patriot Park. Visitors often come there to salute those who have served in our country’s military.
The people are friendly and stop to chat as they walk their dogs along the lake front. Gorgeous sunrises are seen early in the morning across beautiful Little Lake Harris. The moss sways gently in the oak trees and the birds arrive each winter from the north to share the trees and lake with the resident birds…like the Sandhill Cranes that roam around the yards.
This town is in Lake County, Florida that gives good fire and rescue service. A brand-new grocery is just across the bridge and several up-scale restaurants at a conference center and a golf course is a short distance from the one stop light. Crime rate is extremely low. A modern school for special needs students is just down the road from the lake. Who would not want to live here? If it ever snowed (which it doesn’t) one could sled down our hills right into the lake. Which might not be a good idea for alligators can occasionally be seen. Boaters fish and once in a while a pontoon airplane lands and takes off.
Each year Howey in the Hills has a Christmas parade. There are activities for all ages and at night lighted boats sail along the lake shore. Small towns close to Howey send their high school bands and color guards to join the festivities along the lake. Eat your heart out if you are sitting in snow and ice. (Notice the school twirlers aren’t wearing snow suits). How many towns have Llamas dressed for Christmas in their parades? These gentle creatures come to show off every year.
Since most of our readers will not be here for this Christmas, we would like to share the spirit of Christmas from our little town with you. God’s blessings on this wonderful time of year.
We cannot forget our Santa Claus who brings up the end of the parade.
Video of Santa at Howey Christmas Parade (Turn on sound)
On the week of the 4th of July…2016, we thank God for our freedoms. We celebrate our Independence Day…fought and won from one of our present day strongest allies, the United Kingdom. We honor the men who had the vision for a place to live, worship, and govern as we wanted ..and for those through the years who have died to keep that freedom.
So how did it exactly happen? When were we first able to criticize our government? Perhaps this video gives us a little understanding of the history of our Declaration of Independence and the cost to make this a country of freedoms.
Whether you are an American or live elsewhere, we at Boyer Writes wish a HAPPY 4TH TO ALL OUR READERS! Long live freedom!
What does it take to love someone so much that one will leave one’s own country and family to follow that person to a people unknown even if it means being homeless and not certain when one will eat the next meal?
We have an example of this in a love story that makes one think that there may have a purpose in some twist in the road that we know not of. We, in the modern world, may even learn a few things from their experience.
I’d like to introduce you to two people.They will be familiar to some…and perhaps not know to other readers. This saga started when the men of the family died, leaving two women, Ruth and Naomi, alone and destitute. Today it would be like a family having no money in the bank; no one to pay the mortgage and not even food stamps would make things the way they used to be. I’m certain at this moment someone is thinking, “I know that feeling for I’ve been there. I even had children that I had to support. “
It may have been a different time in history and these women may not look like you or dress like you, but suffering is the same regardless. The feeling of hopelessness,however, did not mean that there was not faith. Faith was one thing that was abundant in their lives. It is the stepping out on that faith that is the hard part. It is somewhat like wandering in the dark, but believing that there is a Hand that guides.
Decisions had to be made. These two women had a special relationship. Naomi accepted the fact that Ruth had a loyalty and love for her that began when Ruth married her son. They lived in a culture that expected the men of a relative to stand in the gap for the women in their lives. There was no such thing as “women’s lib”. If a brother died, often another brother would take her to be his wife. It was a matter of keeping the family together and the name to continue. The women were dependent upon this custom, which may have led Naomi to take Ruth and return to her own homeland. No one had told Naomi that they would care for her. Ruth also knew that her decision was a difficult one to go with Naomi, but because of her love she was willing to make this choice. Being a foreigner, Ruth could be subjected to all types of prejudice. In essence, she and her mother in law were homeless.
(The lesson…we often have to make decisions even when we do not know what those decisions will lead us into.)
Being a wise women, Naomi, told Ruth to go to the local fields and glean what she could so that they could take the grain and have something to eat. It was a custom when the field owner was harvesting to leave a certain amount of grain standing for the poor. Today we would call it a giving of a 10% or helping out our local food bank for those who need help feeding the family. Naomi did not ask her to stand on the road side with a sign about being homeless and needing help. She only ask her to work and warned her to stay close to other women and to be careful of those who might have bad intentions to her. This she did.
(The lesson: We can pray and hope, but sometimes we have to simply get out there and work…maybe not the work we want…but do what is necessary at the time. )
Because Naomi had come back to the land where she grew up, some of the people knew her and the word soon was out that Naomi was back with her daughter in law. This was news to a distant relative, Boaz, who owned the land where Ruth went to glean. He was curious about the young woman. He instructed his workers to leave her the best portions.
(Lesson: Sometimes God opens a door and makes events happen using people to bless us in a greater way than we expect.)
Even though it is not mentioned, it appears that Ruth and Boaz may have gotten to know one another in the field, for Boaz actually took the matter to a council to see if some man would want her for a wife. Courting and love relations, as we know it today, were not the usual route toward marriages. They were arranged as families united often for economic purposes. None of the men were in favor of the offer, so Boaz, Naomi’s relative, now has his own decision to make.
Ruth goes to Boaz and lays at the end of his bed. Nothing more is told about the relationship, but Boaz decides that Ruth will be his own wife.
The story does not end there for Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed, who was the grandfather of the future great King David. Naomi also became the baby’s nanny.
So often the readers of the Holy Scriptures are turned off by the long line of genealogies, but they are actually important. I must admit that I have skipped many of them. This one was especially important because Jesus became part of this lineage. (See complete lineage)
(Lesson: As we put our lives in God’s hand, we do not know what wondrous things He is working out.)
One must remember that God is not a respecter of persons. His eye even knows when a sparrow falls. If you are in the middle of a troubling situation, do not give up. There is much life to live and many bends around the corner of which you are now not aware. As you reach out to Him, God will be in control.
“All very interesting, but that was a different country; different race and different religion than I am. How can this story apply to my life?”
We are all God’s creation and He even knows when the sparrow falls from the trees…as the deep voice of Sam Gary sings for us in HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW.
Perhaps your Christmas was too involved and busy to settle back and listen to some of the world’s most beautiful music. Put down the phone; turn off the TV and enjoy the best of this Holy Season . This is your moment to listen and meditate on things beautiful while you sip a favorite beverage.
May God bless you in a special way in this New Year.
Ever think what actually means the most to a child? At this Christmas season when we are thinking of a special gift for that little one that we love, we may want to think what he or she would grab first if there was a need to run away from danger or they were feeling insecure and afraid.
This may sound strange, but the little boy below had survived the terrors of war and obviously shared this terrifying time with his stuffed animal. Both of them look as if they have had a rough experience. I can only guess that he and his family had to run for a shelter when the bombs dropped on London during WWII. There must have been many things in his home, but this is what he loved most. This animal with the odd-looking head probably was the one thing the boy always slept with…and it could not be left. There seems to be an instinct to have something comforting during difficult or scary times. Parents need to be aware of this when a child faces the unknown.
A little girl sits on the edge of a fallen beam. She too is in London facing the fears of war. She holds close her doll. That doll had to be saved just as she did. Call it her female instinct to mother her baby…or just something of comfort and assurance. She may be whispering softly, “Everything will be okay, baby. Mother says the bombs have stopped! Mother always knows.”
Fast forward to our own generation of children. What would be the first thing they think to hold onto during a terrifying storm or when going to bed after seeing too much on TV about the brutality facing people in the world today. Would they hold close a cell phone, an electronic game…or their favorite stuffed animal or “Linus blanket”?
Speaking of Linus Van Pelt, Lucy and the others from Peanuts always gave him a hard time about the blanket he dragged around with him. Didn’t they all know…and don’t we, that “Happiness is a warm blanket”? What we hold closest to us often gives a feeling of security from the problems of life. We, as adults, think we have lost our need for the “blanket” and try to substitute other things in our lives. Somehow they are just not the same.
This leads us back to the holidays and our gifts that we give to our friends, neighbors, or family. Make it something comforting…a warm pie; a bowl of soup; cookies and milk ….or something warm and cuddly….especially for our children.
Boyer Writes would like to wish you the most blessed of Christmases as you enjoy Kings College choir at Cambridge.