Christ Candle with Paperwhites

As I continue to tour my neighbourhood, on foot, I am appalled by the number of Christmas trees already discarded and lying in a forlorn fashion on peoples’ front lawns!

Christmas is certainly”over”.
          Yesterday passed a man taking down his outdoor lights and was sorely tempted to remind him that there are still 5 mores days of “Christmas”.
          I do understand that some people need to clear up their decorations before heading back to work but it does seem such a shame when we have had Christmas glitz shoved down our throats since Halloween, that society so quickly “dumps’ it on the December 26th, or thereabouts! End of Grinch rant.
        Meanwhile, shall sit happily enjoying my tree until Friday the 6th!
      Which reminds me that our Epiphany Team Gathering takes place this coming Saturday, January 7th. I’m sure it will all come together but I still have only heard from a handful of attendees and NO ONE has actually mentioned exactly what they plan to bring for our “Pot Trust” supper AGH!!!  I can see I shall have to resort to some phone calls in the next few days to sort out this impending crisis.
        Over the past week I have been trying to reflect on what things I have learned throughout the Advent and Christmas Seasons which will help me in the shaping of Day Camps 2012.

       One obvious teaching has been that of using the Internet as a tool for working with our oldest ( 10-12 year old) Campers, the Pathfinders. The Church I now attend makes fairly frequent use of You- Tube Videos as additions to our Morning Services, often using a Video in place of a more conventional Scripture reading.
     I have suggested to the editor of the Pathfinder Program and Devotions that a judicious sprinkling of You-Tubes as “Grabber Activities” could be beneficial in “grabbing” the attention of the preteen set. We do need to be careful not to get sucked into the whole high-tech thing (see my last posted about the 8 year old and the iPod) BUT we also need to seek ways in which we can use the advances of technology to enhance our Program and to “meet’ our Campers in the world they inhabit instead of expecting them to “fit” into the structures of more conventional church liturgies. After all, surely the Day Camp experience needs to be relevant and to disprove to children and families that “Bible Camp” is only about sweet old ladies handing out tracts featuring a golden haired Jesus surrounded by neatly dressed, very, clean, very “white” children!!
     So those of you who are hosting Camps this year, be prepared for more laptops making an appearance alongside the construction paper and glitter glue ( yes we will be careful not to apply glitter glue to the laptops!!!)
My Christmas Cat

     Secondly, I have been struck by reading  in several places about people who”keep Christmas 365 days of the year”. My first  response is to think of houses permanently festooned with tinsel ( ugh) or women continually churning out gingerbread cookies ( yes it is equally possible to tire of eating gingerbread, say in July)

     I  have a lovely book of paintings of “Christmas Cats” in which the author, Leslie Anne Ivory, uses a local word from England “Christingly”. This word is used to describe the lovely and quite unique, “Christmassy” feeling that I’m sure everyone has experienced at least once during the Season.
   So I have decided, not being one to embrace the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing, to keep a little notebook in which I can jot down Christingly experiences throughout the year.
   I also keep a journal as well as a special  list of thanksgivings, but this will be different and   I hope it will help me to focus on the special Spirit ( the HOLY Spirit) of the Season, which can be so easily lost in the daily grind of the rest of the year. Somehow I hope we can incorporate this sort of thinking into the hearts of our Campers too. What a positive impact we could make if our 800 or so Summer Campers  eliminated “Christingliness” to those around them after Day Camps are over !!

 Hmm! how to segue into a recipe?? Well, it is nearly lunch time so my thoughts are turning to food and since, this Friday,we will be celebrating the Epiphany I think I will share my favourite …


                                      “Three Kings Meatballs”
Serves 6-8
 3/4 cup fine bulgur wheat
2cups boiling water
2pounds fine ground lamb
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup pine nuts
3Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs.beaten
1tsp ground coriander
2tsp ground cumin
1Tbsp lemon juice
2Tbsp chopped fresh dill. or 2 tsp, dried
!tbsp chopped fresh mint or 1tsp, dried
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
Soak bulgur in boiling water for approx. 1/2 hour. Drain well;
   In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, including bulgur and mix very well. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake 20mins. in a preheated 375 degree oven, or until just cooked through. 
Onion Sauce
 2Tbsp olive oil
1 sliced yellow onion
1cup plain yoghurt
1Tbsp cornstarch
2Tbsp cold water.
Fry onion in oil over medium heat until tender..Whisk in the yoghurt and warm through. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and add to sauce. Stir until thickened.
Meanwhile cook 1 1/2 cups basmati rice.
 Spread rice on a  large warmed platter top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of dried sumac) available at Middle Eastern Grocers)