“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Sunday, December 22, 2013


The longest night of  2013 is over!  I was awakened by the family's old mantle clock striking 9:00 this morning at the other end of the house.[1] I slept in. The warm mountain of blankets on my bed made it hard to get up. I thought about a line in Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book The Wind in the Willows.

"In the winter time the Rat slept a great deal, retiring early and rising late. During his short day he sometimes scribbled poetry or did other small domestic jobs about the house; and, of course, there were always animals dropping in for a chat, ..."

It was time for this rat to get up!

I threw off my bed-covers, put on my slippers and dressing gown and went to the kitchen. The morning was bright, still and sunny (so common with deep Arctic fronts.) The temperature outside was minus 27 C! Brrr. Inside, the fireplace was cold and dark and the house had a chill. I would not be venturing out with my electric wheelchair to the church at the top of the hill. 

My fellow-Christians who dared the cold this December morning would pray at the church that the Lord would hear our collective prayer:

"For the Church, called as Mary was, to give Christ to the world, we pray to the Lord:"

"For the world's children, born and unborn, signs of God's gift of life, we pray to the Lord:"

"For people in our midst who reach out for your love and our hope, we pray to the Lord:"

"For us, God's people gathered here, called to bring the presence of Christ to each other, we pray to the Lord."

I could not be with them in person, but I was in spirit. I regret not being able to receive Communion this morning, but Christ's presence is still with me. 


My wife's grandfather was a jeweler/clock maker of the old school. As a small boy I remember passing his little prairie store and gazing in the window at the Christmas display of watches, clocks, a miniature winter village that adorned his shop window each year. In 1930 he gave grandmother the mantle clock for their wedding.   

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