25 December, 2010
Lord'a'Mercy........... Their Northern Irish accent and the lilting song do raise the Irish blood. These young brothers do it justice with a Celtic abandon and joy that is born of that long line of ancestry, reaching back to the ages before written history. And they see truly, with the last four quatrains, that to spill the Mead is sure and true, at midwinter 'tis a blessing brought forward.
"Sire, the night is darker now,
And the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart I know not how,
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps my good Page,
Tread now in them boldly,
Thou shalt find the Winter's rage,
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his Master's steps he trod,
Where the snow lay dinted.
Heat was in the very sod,
Which the Saint had wrinten.
Therefore Christian men be sure,
Wealth or right possessing,
Ye' who now will bless the poor,
Shall yourselves find blessing!"
Sure now, Jesus calls us to do the same, follow in his footsteps though the cruel world beats upon us relentless and with unending rage. AND, we are to do it with joy.
That joy contains both mirth and sadness, grief and happiness abundant. At the core, at the center is that clear and certain love that Christ brought forth from his birth.
We now celebrate Christmas. In eleven days comes Epiphany, where Christ is first shown to the world. Let us do that in our lives, beloved.....let every day be an epiphany of his work in us.
Since neither Mark or I put down a deer this season, the Winter larder is less blessed than it has been in years past. Work for pay has been minimal, times tough. The cause could be debated and contested in many an arena....political, social, economic, religious.
The fact is, I am tired of pointing fingers. It is Christmas and time to enjoy what blessings we have.
It is what it is....and that, beloved is the fact that we live in a broken world. We are broken people. In the midst of this, our good Lord still provides. The bills are once again paid, there is food on the table, heat in the house, wine for dinner, music to enjoy and petrol to carry us to work and home...........AND, by the Grace of God...there is work! We may be patently broke, but we do eat well.
English Roast - Cheap seven bone chuckroast, seared in bacon fat, slow roasted with a bit of wine, onion, celery and thyme. About an hour and a half into the roast, I added taters and carrots. It was about half complete. Medium oven....275 to 300 for 2 to 5 hours depending on the weight of the beast and the heat of the oven....
Yorkshire Pudding - flour and eggs, pan drippings from the roast and the broth from last night's Christmas Eve Oyster chowder. All whipped into a frenzy, the batter poured back into the Dutch oven where the roast had been, still hot and savory. Bake at 400+ for about 25 to 30 mins. It will rise and brown and let you know.
Cornbread/Sausage Dressing - Carolina cornbread (not sweet, buttermilk base), pork sausage, onion, celery, sage, thyme, salt and pepper.........AND........turkey giblet stock left over from Thanksgiving. Cornbread made the night before, left to dry and rest. Sausage browned and drained, onion and celery diced and sauteed in bacon grease. Crumble the cornbread into a bowl, add the cooled sausage and veges. Add small amounts of the giblet stock until it is almost sticky....sage, thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Bake with the roast at the tail end of it's time....about 35 mins until it is toasty on top, about 165 deg. in the center.
Its an amazing, dense and complex mix of flavors. There is nothing fresh or politically correct about the whole meal. Deb and I will feast off of this for at least three days, depending on the amount of physical work to which we are called.
AND!!!!!! -- bless my dear D's heart, she took time between jobs to bake both a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie from scratch. The pumpkins came from the farmer down the way, the pecans from Green Valley, AZ. The pumpkin is more like custard than pie...thick and creamy. The pecan is made with dark Karo syrup and blackstrap molasses, almost a black caramel. And yes, she makes her own flaky lard based crust.
Brit or Welsh, Irish or Scot, Cornish or Auld Gaelic....... Y'all provide us with a rich tradition that has, of late, been trampled upon. From it come some of our most sacred beliefs. Might be a good time to revisit the core of old English law.....that which is the base of our own Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Its all based upon a belief in a sovereign and loving God. Yanno, the one who sent his only son to redeem, reconcile and reclaim this broken old world.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Merry Christmas, Frohe Weinachten, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noell, God Jul, Zalig Kerstfeest!!!
To one and all on the innertoobs, to their families and loved ones. And yes, especially to those men and women, boots on the ground, manning decks on the sea and cockpits in the air, keeping watch that we might sleep safe and enjoy our freedoms.
GOD BLESS Y’ALL!!!!!
Doug M, one of the regular postmongers over at: http://www.sondrak.com/ wrote the following:
"Yeah, even a grizzled ol’ gruntled atheist like me loves Christmas music. Nah, not for the words, but for the joy, inspiration, and sense of tradition that it brings to most normal people, no matter their beliefs. Christmas music is an exercise of human creativity and dedication. I admire those who have dedicated a major part of their lives to their voices and their instruments so that our culture is full of richness, pleasure, enlightenment, and humor. (Those that produce mere schlock and crap ... nnnn, thanks, anyway.)
I love Christmas, because it has come to encompass many holidays in one: Christian, Pagan, Winter Solstice, commercial, and family. If nothing else, I enjoy watching others enjoy Christmas.
Anyone who can’t find something to celebrate or find joy in this time of year is either a spiteful, whiney, Scrooge, or they’re just not trying.
To those who wish us ill or would destroy the soul of America, out of greed, or envy, or spite, or superstition, or ignorance, or habit, or power lust, or whatever ... well, I hope you wake up to nothing but a lump of coal in your stockings tomorrow morning. That’s pretty magnanimous, under the circumstances.
Yeah, just chalk that up to my Christmas spirit."