Monday, December 04, 2017

Christmas Countdown with Charlotte Mason, Week 10 of 12: Streams in the Desert

Three weeks till Christmas!

Here is this week's passage from Charlotte Mason's book Parents and Children:
"So, too, of that other fountain, of  justice, with which every child is born. There, again, the stream may flow forth in either, but not in both, of the channels, the egoistic or the altruistic. The child's demand for justice may be all for himself, or, from the very first, the rights of others may be kept before his eyes.  
"'It's not Fair!'––He may be taught to occupy himself with his own rights and other people's duties, and, if he is, his state of mind is easily discernible by the catchwords often on his lips, 'It's a shame!' 'It's not fair!' or he may, on the other hand, be so filled with the notion of his own duties and other people's rights, that the claims of self slip quietly into the background. This kind cometh forth only by prayer, but it is well to clear our thoughts and know definitely what we desire for our children, because only so can we work intelligently towards the fulfillment of our desire. It is sad to pray, and frustrate the answer by our own action; but this is, alas, too possible."
In the spirit of Charlotte Mason: 
"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. " ~~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Charlotte Mason concludes this section with a strong warning, particularly about training children in their rights and duties, but applicable to other areas of teaching (academic and beyond), and also to our own inner struggles. It is this: don't say you want something, even claim that you are praying for something, but then sabotage the work of the Holy Spirit..."by what we have done, and what we have left undone."

Now, we are not building robots, or training dogs. Children are individual persons, and are not to be brainwashed, coerced, or tricked into particular behaviours. But we may not just wring our hands (even prayerfully) if there is action that needs to be taken, or enabling that needs to stop.

Don't work against the grain of the brain. Don't pray for hea─║th but continue in poor lifestyle habits. Don't pray for money but waste what you have. And don't say you want children to be loving, or fair, or honest, or diligent, or generous, and then not offer, first, early training in these things as habits; and then guidance in furnishing the conscience, and equipping the Will to choose what is right.

And does this relate to Christmas, or Advent?
"Lest we should think this a hardship, this kind of good begins on a level far above the creatures, for God Himself, as Son, from all eternity renders back to God as Father by filial obedience the being which the Father by paternal love eternally generates in the Son."~~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
God's holiness and justice, plus his outpouring of grace and mercy, is fulfilled in the Incarnation.

Things to do this week:

In the 1977 world of Family Circle Christmas Helps, "Three Weeks Till Christmas" didn't expect that you'd have the whole gift thing, um, wrapped up. This week gets only one double spread of photos, but they range from a "quick-to-sew door pull" and an ice-skate punch-needle stocking, to a star made from toilet paper tubes and a candle ring of pinecones and nuts. Actually the candle ring is the nicest thing on the page, and it inspired this:
Don't give me too much "Christmas Helps" credit for that one: the ring of fruit was a gift several years ago, and I just added the glass hurricane jar and put it on the tray I found at the thrift store. We use what we have.

One thing that the magazine seems to time right, though, is the suggestion that you round up and decorate any baking containers or gift boxes that may be needed in the coming weeks. It's also handy to have semi-disposable containers if you are going to potlucks and worry about leaving a favourite food carrier behind or having someone else accidentally pick it up. (Ask me how I know.)

Coffee cans used to be common recycled packaging (and even baking tins); but what we often have more of here are plastic tubs from salad greens and baked goods. But if you're a less-plastic shopper in the first place, you might prefer canning jars.
And here's something to put in the containers. The recipe was originally published in Vegetarian Times.

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