On the 12th Day of Christmas, Pax Vobiscum

Peace be with you, whether or not you celebrate on this particular day. I sort of feel as though everyone can use a bit of serenity now and again.  As I write this, on Christmas Eve, our neighborhood is peaceful, fewer traffic sounds than usual, no construction noises, and no boisterous people. By the time you read this, the traffic noises will likely be down to zero.  I enjoy that quiet because it’s so rare.

KingsCh2015_1This seems like a good time to share a couple of photos from my trip to England last April, one of the highlights of my year.  Here is the fan-vaulted ceiling of Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, which I visited with Anna S.

This kind of Gothic detailing always amazes me.  I have to stop and think that it was done by hand, with hammer and chisel and no shortcuts.  The pace of life was slower back then, and things took as long as they took.

The building of the chapel took from 1441 to 1515. The cornerstone was laid by 19-year-old Henry VI.  Work stalled during the reign of Edward IV but began in earnest again under Richard III and was completed in the reign of Henry VIII.

KingsCh2015_2I’m a sucker for stained glass windows, especially old ones. According to the Kings College website, the stained chapel’s glass survived the Civil War.  At right is a photo of one of the windows at Kings College Chapel. Cromwell’s troops destroyed the windows at other churches, including Winchester Cathedral, but these were spared although the troops used the chapel as a parade ground.

The website indicates the glass was removed for safety during World War II.  York Minster also removed its stained glass before the war. Westminster Abbey was no so lucky, unfortunately.  The bombing during World War II destroyed its medieval windows, so very little of the old glass remains.

Talking about war feels a little odd when the topic overall is peace.  Looking at stained glass windows makes me feel peaceful, though, and when they’re so very old, it helps me believe beauty can survive amid darkness. Which is really kinda what Christmas is about, at least for me.

Magic_and_Mistletoe_finalThis year, I’m also celebrating because I have my first Christmas story ever out at last! “Magic & Mistletoe” is a longish short story, a followup to “The Solstice Ball” in last year’s Tiny Treats: a Holiday Collection anthology. (The anthology is still free, BTW).

Deputy Shire Reeve Roland Wade and mage teacher Peri Lee try to figure out whether a bookworm and a badass can find love under the mistletoe.

Just as a side note, in the non-Bandita Christmas calendar, today is the 1st Day of Christmas (per medieval custom), and I guess that means the GR’s reign as Lord of Misrule gets extended. I better warn Sven to lock up the egg nog!

I’m giving one person today a green dragon ornament (suitable for hanging without a tree if one is so inclined) in honor of the dragon in my upcoming release, The Herald of Day.  I’m going to pick today’s winner based totally on my whim. 🙂  The prize post for the 12 days and the big prize will go up sometime next week, as holiday chaos dies down for each of us and we get the chance to post our info as well as huddle over picking the grand prize winner.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, tell us what you did today and what your favorite part of the day was.

I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas had or have a merry one, those of you who don’t celebrate it get a great holiday, and everyone has a fabbo 2016!

 

 

 

Comments

54 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Merry Christmas, Nancy. Didn’t do much. Went to the supermarket to pick up a few items. I remember my cousin taking me to the Met because there was a Tiffany’s stained glass window exhibit and they were so beautiful. I even made her buy me a few prints in the museum shop.

    • Merry Christmas, Jane!

      Our grocery stores are closed today, but the dh made a quick run to Walgreen’s, which is open all day. I love the Tiffany displays at the Metropolitan. We have a coaster set of four of the windows.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    As for me, on the the 24th, I got ready for company and pre-made some of my casseroles for the 25th.

    However, “today” – Christmas itself – I’m ready to open packages (which I just finished wrapping here at 1 a.m.) and make great food. I’m about to turn in, so I hope the boys let me sleep a bit later than 5 a.m.! Hahah! Merry Christmas, everyone!!

  • I am at my Mom’s tonight getting ready for Christmas dinner and present mayhem tomorrow. I worked until 8 PM at Walmart. SO not peaceful. I am looking forward to visiting with my family and eating good food!
    HAPPY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL!

  • flchen1 says:

    A very merry Christmas to you, Nancy, and all the Banditas! We do celebrate, and this year, we’re doing it away from home 🙂 Depending on how the kids are feeling, we may do some hiking, and look forward to eating out as we celebrate the greatest Gift.

    Wishing everyone a joyful and peaceful day, no matter your beliefs or traditions!

  • Deb Meredith says:

    Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a wonderful fun filled day! My day has involved getting some last minute presents, a few groceries. Made a batch of fudge and dessert for tomorrow. Laundry as usual and even wrapped presents and watched Charlie Brown Christmas. Finished up a couple of crocheted presents and started another that I need finished in a couple of days. I love seeing the kids open their presents, especially the young ones. There is always magic in watching them!

    • Deb, Merry Christmas! The dh loves the Charlie Brown Christmas special, particularly the music. We’ll be watching the marathon of A Christmas Story,mwhich he also loves, at some point today.

  • Mary Preston says:

    Merry Christmas!!

    I had fun waking my children up. I wanted to get the day started.

    We had a lovely day with family. Way too much chocolate consumed, but that’s what traditions are for.

  • Minna says:

    Merry Christmas! We did get a white Christmas, after all, although the little bit of snow we got seem to be melting -again.

    As usual, we took candles to the graves, deocorated the Christmas tree (and the old elf is sitting in the tree, like always), watched the Declaration of Christmas Peace and went to sauna, just like every year.

    the Declaration of Christmas Peace
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKE2Sscuark

    “Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour;and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully,because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behaviour shall under aggravating circumstances be guiltyand punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence separately.Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.”

  • Helen says:

    Hi Nancy

    Merry Christmas to you and your family

    It is now 8-45 pm Christmas night here in Oz and I have had a wonderful day with family lots to eat lots of fun with the grandkids who spent most of the day in the pool that is of course except Jayden who while opening presents this morning ended up putting a knife in his had and had to have 3 stitches but he is still smiling and happy with what Santa brought him 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Sandyg265 says:

    We don’t celebrate Christmas but my boyfriend’s daughter does. We have a ham dinner at her house around 1. Then we come home, watch TV and work on a jigsaw puzzle. My favorite part of the day is seeing my boyfriend’s grandchildren.

  • May says:

    Merry Christmas!

    We just got started with opening presents and all the kids fighting…. 🙂 They get so happy and excited…. It’s great to have Christmas with them!

  • Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and best wishes for a happy holiday to those who don’t! We’ve had our stockings and opened a few gifts. Now the dh is making Swedish pancakes, per our tradition, and then we’ll open the rest of our gifts.

    The boy and I have both been under the weather this week, so we switched our turkey dinner to tonight. So we have that to look forward to after our gift-opening session. We like to draw that part of the day out a bit.

    I’ll pop back in shortly.

  • catslady says:

    Happy Holidays to all! Our celebration doesn’t start until this evening because some in our family have to work so that gives me time to get everything ready. We had our chaos last night with relatives and their 10 children lol.

  • Colleen C. says:

    I love dragons!!!! 😀 Crossing my fingers! SO far today, my family had breakfast together, opened presents, took pics… now it is some free time till we have dinner later… Merry Christmas!

  • Lianne says:

    Just catching up on reading blogs etc … it’s Boxing Day morning here now, Christmas Day went smoothly. Food was delicious

  • Shannon says:

    Just got in from running around to various festivities with friends. (Family is far away.) Best part of the day was to come home and find that someone had left me a bag of fruit and cookies, much what I got in my stocking when I was a child. Thank goodness for friends.

  • Ellie says:

    I spent the day cooking for my sons and grandchildren who enjoyed a lunch feast. I am filled with love for them.

  • Anne says:

    Merry Christmas. Had a lovely day with family. Wonderful memories of their visit and a delectable and memorable meal.

  • gamistress66 says:

    Merry Christmas!! — quiet day here enjoying unseasonably warm weather (open window on Christmas — might be a 1st), enjoyed a little time sitting on the back porch reading (also a 1st ) 🙂 dinner now going in the oven while the Christmas music plays to keep the mood festive.

  • Elaina says:

    Was a busy day with 2 sons and 4 little ones. Festive and fun. Looking forward to a respite later on.

  • Tina M says:

    I spent my day laying on the couch. I just got out of the hospital on Christmas eve after having a total knee replacement. My family made us a late lunch today. My grandchildren can’t wait to see grandma up and walking and playing games again. Merry Christmas..

  • Pearl says:

    Merry Christmas. When our family spends precious time together as we did today I treasure this greatly. Meaningful and very emotional.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Nancy. Interesting info on the stained glass, which I also love. My grandson #2’s father and grandfather own a business where they replace broken stained glass. They get windows from around the world, they are that good at matching the older colors. It is dangerous work because they deal with so much lead, both from the colors in the glass and the piece the glass needs to fit into.
    So we spent a really quiet Christmas with a thrown together dinner of steak and potatoes. Lots of phone calls to family, also.
    Our Christmas ended up a little quieter than we expectered. My dad has been ill and he has lost much of his strength and tires very easily so when my brother got

    • Amy Conley says:

      To finish the last sentence, since it disappeared on me…our dad was too tired to go anywhere or do anything. So they got the lasagne and we got steak.

    • Merry Christmas, Amy! What a cool business that stained glass replacement is! I can see how they would need to be careful.

      I’m sorry your dad hasn’t been well. It’s great that you were able to be with him.

  • I’m calling it quits for tonight and will answer any later comments tomorrow. Comments posted before midnight eastern time are eligible for the prize.

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

  • Pissenlit says:

    Oh dear, whatever happened to the 11th Day of Christmas?

    Merry Christmas!

    I looooove old stained glass windows! And old timey-looking glass windows. I prefer them to the more modern-looking ones.

    Today, I ate tons of food, watched a few movies, took a nap, watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, did some knitting, and I think maybe I’ll fit in the Call the Midwife Christmas special and some reading before I go to bed. All of that was interspersed with many many cookies.

  • Hi Nancy!

    Hope you had a great Christmas. As I type this, it’s Dec. 26th and I’m in Christmas recovery :). I just flipped on the dishwasher for its third and final round of dishes. Holiday ware is separated and ready to go into the basement for storage for another year. Leftovers have been put away for lunch (and dinner) tomorrow. The cat has come out of hiding (stranger danger) I’m ready to hit the sack. It’s been a long but wonderful day. Life is good.

  • Laurie G says:

    I had my two older sons and their significant others , my daughter’s family and my 91 yo mom over for dinner. Afterwards we played games like Salad Bowl. Later after dark, we took a long walk through the subdivision to see the beautiful yard displays. We opened gifts after breakfast too.
    Happy holidays!

  • Cassondra says:

    Nancy I love love LOVE this blog post. And I love that theme because it is so true for me too, about the meaning of Christmas. Although I follow the traditional Christmas story and use this to celebrate the birth of Jesus (and his subsequent successful coup against the darkness–a clandestine, spec ops mission if ever there was one) it is as you say, a time of quiet when we can at least slow down to appreciate beauty and recognize that it, and love, survives, and can be seen, almost without fail, through the worst of times, the darkest evil, and is a good reminder that things will not always be as they are, even when it feels hopeless.

    Anyway, what a fitting, perfect post for Christmas day, and I’m so sorry I did not get to read it and comment on the 12th day.

    And isn’t that just the point–the holidays so often become harried to the point that we cannot even appreciate the beauty of the moment. I think that will become my goal this next year. To stop and take just a moment to appreciate what is lovely or wonderful in EVERY moment, because I do believe even in the darkest times, there is something I can find that is good.