A Holier Holiday Season

The Holiness of Hiraeth (Longing for Home)

Where is the season of Advent going? This morning I woke up feeling the holiday pressure to get Christmas done, and then I remembered to breathe, slow down and be in the moment of this holy season. And so, I began to putz around my old 18th-century house and was struck by the memories that came flooding back when I looked at my dollhouse. There’s a Welsh word — hiraeth — which means a longing for home. I think this longing grows stronger in the month of December. Yet as we long, we take comfort in our memories. What memories of “home” do you hold in your heart? Enjoy this midweek time together at Old Stone Well Farm! Blessings!

Old Stone Well Farm

The Holiness of a Candlelit Breakfast

We continue our quest to have a holier holiday season. Today at the farm, join me for a candlelit breakfast, some thoughts about the joys of simplicity and the blessing of “my daily egg.”
These midweek gatherings are my gift to you and your loved ones — a gift that reminds us all to slow down and savor the God moments all around.

Blessings!

Midweek at the Farm

The Holiness of the First Snow

A midweek time to breathe and recenter so that you can truly have a holier holiday season this year. I would love for more people to enter into Christ’s birth with peace, not stress; with hope, not discouragement; and with the beauty of realizing joy is not bought…we really do have all we need already around us. Enjoy!

Pastor Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

An Angel Named Oscar

Celtic Advent has met up with traditional Advent, and I am so excited to invite you to the farm as we light the first candle on the Advent wreath. This will be a time to share a cup of coffee and hear a little about Celtic spirituality and the monks beliefs in angelic encounters. I will also share with you an Advent Celtic circle prayer. And I can’t wait to tell you the story of a very unlikely angel named, Oscar. So make yourself comfortable, enjoy some old and new holiday songs, and watch the snow fall here in Vermont as we make our way to Christmas together. As always, I appreciate your feedback and support. Share with friends and family. Like on YouTube, and consider subscribing to the YouTube channel. I only need a few more subscribers to get a personalized YouTube channel. Blessings! Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

Stir Up Sunday

On this our second Sunday in our Celtic Advent celebration, we get out the old bowls at the farm to whip up some holiday goodies. This day is known in Anglican circles as “Stir Up Sunday,” which gets its name from the collect in the Book of Common Prayer that asks God to “stir up” God’s faithful children. It was a day for families to “stir up” their Christmas puddings and fruitcake, allowing enough weeks for all the wonderful holiday flavors to mingle together.

I wonder, though, what does it take for our faith to be stirred up? What would it look like to live with such a faith? And, as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday, who has been that special person in your life who has “stirred up” your faith? Think about that person and pause to give God thanks for them in your life.

So, let’s get ready to stir things up!

Blessings to you and your family,

Pastor Donna

Click on video to begin playing.

Old Stone Well Farm

A Celtic Advent Begins

Observing a Celtic Advent has become a tradition here at Old Stone Well Farm. Beginning on Nov. 15, Celtic Advent is often referred to as a “Winter Lent,” as there are 40 days which leads to the celebration of Christ’s birth.

The Celts used this time to embrace each ordinary day as holy and to ponder Christ’s arrival in the world, in our hearts and his promise to return again. So join me as we begin our Celtic Advent.

Share this new tradition with others and, if you would, please like the YouTube page and consider subscribing. I would love to start 2022 with a channel for Old Stone Well Farm.

Blessings! Donna

Candle Making Day

Today is a special day at Old Stone Well Farm. Not only is it candle making day, as I make my beeswax candles for the upcoming Advent season, which begins here on Nov. 15 as I love observing Celtic Advent, but it is my ordination anniversary.

Fourteen years ago on Nov. 11 I was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. As I make my candles, I reflect on the light of Christ that I have been called to in this world.

Watch the video because there is also a special gift I would love to share with you.

Blessings! Donna

A Light Shines in the Darkness

My husband and I had just finished a seasonal tradition we have tried to honor in our marriage of enjoying a quiet Sunday dinner with only the candles around the Advent wreath lit. The dinner was one I looked forward to, especially after a busy morning in the church with the excitement and energy growing as Christmas drew nearer.

On the night’s menu was locally raised lamb from a friend’s farm, roasted to perfection, and green beans from my summer garden that I had successfully blanched and frozen. They tasted as fresh as the day I picked them. I was quite pleased with myself.

After the last dish was rinsed and put into the dishwasher, we settled in the living room in front of the Christmas tree, still without ornaments thanks to my lack of energy and motivation to “do” Christmas this year.

“I am going to keep it simple,” I said to my husband early in the season as I strewn the fireplace mantles with fresh pine garland — and nothing else.

I had only been sitting for less than a minute when my peaceful bliss of a silent night was interrupted. Off went the candles around the Advent wreath, then our only source of light in our 18th century home. On went the electric lights. Off went the beautiful stillness of a December night. On went the television.

I sat for a moment feeling sad as the glow from the TV took away from the beauty of the one lone candle I did not want to put out just yet. Its flame was just so beautiful. So seemingly fragile against the harshness of light bulbs. So small and yet so capable of casting a mighty warmth in its path of light. There is such beauty in a little flicker of candlelight I mused.

Suddenly, the unexpected happened. Click, hum, buzz, whirl…lights went off, TV went dead, the dishwasher stopped. Then silence. Nothing but nothing to hear.

A whispered profanity came out of my husband’s mouth. I, however, rejoiced. For the one candle that I had refused to blow out, the one whose light was being overshadowed just a second ago by the television and lamps, the one that seemed like nothing much, had now taken center stage.

It’s funny how often our reaction to losing the artificial light in our lives is one of frustration. We fumble for flashlights and pray to God that our cell phones have enough power in them. And when we realize our gadgets don’t have enough power in them, fear seizes us.

Frustration and fear. Two words that can best describe how many are living today. And yet there were a people thousands of years ago living in frustration and fear as well. They, however, didn’t have alternative means of light to reach for. No artificial comfort or fleeting reassurances to flick on when the dark night of the soul came upon them. Rather they had to reach deep down into their very core to trust all the great unknowns in life were indeed known by a compassionate God. They had to keep walking in darkness, trusting the did not walk alone. They had to grope in the darkness with whatever faith was left, believing a light would shine upon them. And it did. The Christ light broke through and, as the prophet Isaiah tells us, “those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

My lone candle burned brightly the other night. Its flame dancing for joy with a Christmas promise we in this “lights on, background noise blaring, rushing around” world need to embrace. When the darkness suddenly comes upon us, the true light in our lives shines on, never to be extinguished.

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The lone beeswax candle in the Accidental Country Pastor’s home flickers with a beautiful Christmas message…no matter how dark the dark gets, the light shines brightly.

 

 

 

 

Sunday at Old Stone Well Farm

Welcome to the fourth week of Advent. So glad you are joining the Accidental Country Pastor at the Old Stone Well Farm a she shares with you a special Christmas tradition inspired by Mary’s “yes” to God.

And a special thank you as our online “church” continues to grow. So many of you are thankful for this time when it is hard to get to a traditional church building on a Sunday morning. Share this time together with friends.

Many blessings to you!

Scripture to Reflect On:

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,  to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.