Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Of Saints and Sewing

St. Stephen in Glory (detail)
Giacomo Cavedone, 1601
Today is honoured by some as St. Stephen's Day...remembering the martyring of Stephen, considered the first Christian martyr, who, as he was dying (from stoning), the Scriptures say, forgave those who were stoning him (Acts 7:60).

From Christmas Carols,
New & Old
It is the day, according to the carol, that Good King Wenceslas went out with his page to bring food, drink and firewood to an impoverished peasant -- braving weather not unlike the snowy -25 C we're experiencing here in Central Alberta today.

Both remembrances carry meaning for our times; the first because we are remembering recent appalling tragedies: the murders at Sandyhook Elementary School; the pre-meditated shooting of firefighters called to a burning home in upstate New York; and the killing of five Nigerian Christians, including their pastor,  on Christmas Day while they were at prayer, followed by the burning of the church.  Stephen's forgiveness reminds us that there is a nobler side to our humanity, that we are called to 'love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us]' (Matthew 5:44)...indeed, this is the only way to peace.  (Lest you doubt Scripture, contemporary research bears this out, and there are many sources on this work.)

And the second?  The legend of Wenceslas I teaches us compassion in action, another sign there is a nobler side to our humanity, and yet another way to show love for others as for ourselves and to live in peace.

Today is also known widely as Boxing Day-- a statutory holiday in many parts of the Western world, the origin of which is rather unclear.  Some believe that 'boxing' refers to boxing up the stuff they got for Christmas and putting it away.  The British tradition holds this as the day when servants, having waited on their masters on Christmas Day, were given the day off to spend with their own families, perhaps taking with them 'Christmas boxes' of money and gifts given by their employers in recognition of their faithful service during the year.

But the European tradition seems to me to be closer to that practiced by the Good King: giving money and boxes of gifts to the needy and the poor -- in addition to recognizing the work of their servants and 'good pages'.

What has all this to do with sewing?  (Yes, I hear you asking that after you've indulged me by reading all of the above!)

Well...for those of us who prefer to shun the 21st century tradition of shop-till-you-drop on Boxing Day...we're getting ready to sew, sew sew!   Sandy over at Quilting for the Rest of Us is holding her Second Annual Boxing-Day Sew-In, and has invited other bloggers to join her in a give-away, so check there often for links to same.

My participation to the BDSI this year will be to finish the latest clues for the Easy Street Mystery Quilt, so that I'm all ready for the next step on Friday.  Then there is the 'leaders and enders' "Picnic Quilt" I continue to plug away on that will be given away through the charity tree at my church.  Last but not least, I'll be sewing on something for my daughter's mid-January birthday, so that's all I'm sayin' for now on that subject!  :-)

I want to share a few Christmas memories (including the photos of gifts I talked about but couldn't show) and the run up to the completion of my Final Assessment Piece for the C&G, but this post is already long stay tuned!

Meanwhile, would you consider foregoing the sales on this Boxing Day, and staying home with your stitching (whether with knitting, sewing or crochet needles or hooks), perhaps boxing up something special for those still in need in our weary world?

Would you consider a saying a prayer with each stitch, for those who have lost so much, and for any in need of forgiveness and healing?

Would you remember that like the Good King, you can be Light in this often dark and weary world?

Let's go stitch!

1 comment:

rtquilter said...

Well said, Margaret. Lovely. Happy Christmas.