Johan Ludvig Runeberg, (1804 – 1877 ) Finno-Swedish poet is generally considered to be the national poet of Finland. His works, which express the patriotic spirit of his countrymen, were written in Swedish and exercised great influence on Swedish literature as well. Besides the Finnish national anthem (Vårt land) and “Fänrik Ståls sägner”, he wrote the lovely Christmas poem “Gläns över sjö och strand”, a song I always loved to sing as a child at Christmas. It had a piano accompaniment written by the Swedish music teacher Alice Tegnér, most famous for writing children’s songs, which she published. The song was stuck in my brain from childhood days, so ten years ago I made a translation of the song into English. Here it is, enjoy:
Shine over sea and land, star in the distance,
Born by the Lord’s command for man’s assistance
Bethlehem’s Star whose rays
Lead where our Savior stays.
Shepherds behold the sight
In the midwinter night
Of that deep guiding light
Star shining clear and bright.
Night over Bethlehem, night over Zion;
Over in Western rim sets the Orion.
Shepherds that watch their sheep;
Child in a dreamless sleep –
Wakes with a glorious
Chorus of voices
God’s host victorious
With us rejoices.
We have finally decorated our Christmas tree! From our Scandinavian traditions Christmas Eve is the big day. We are awaiting the arrival of our children and grand children. First we all go to church, singing Christmas carols, After a short message telling the real reason for the season that Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin, sent to die to redeem us from our sins, risen again and is now back in Heaven with the Father, as He was from before the beginning of time. The singing ends with all singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.
Then we go back home and enjoy our Christmas dinner, followed by at least one more hour of singing Christmas carols, all choose at least one, beginning with the youngest. We do this while dancing around the Christmas tree. Then we eat the Marzipan cake, decorated as the Rose of Sharon and sing happy birthday, Lord Jesus. After that, it is the giving out of Christmas presents. We open them, one at a time, giving thanks, or whatever come to mind after each present.
There is no Santa in our Christmas, that would take away from the centrality of Jesus Christ.
Christmas Day is for eating and relaxation.
This is our traditional Scandinavian Christmas. No Lutfisk, my wife is from Denmark.
Yesterday the Obama administration, the lamest of all ducks with four weeks left on its “reign”decided to abandon Israel, stabbing it in the back, trying to make it as difficult as possible for the Unites States to play a role in future peace negotiations. Days before the United States had been frozen out of the Syria deal, leaving Russia, Turkey and Iran as the only worthy partners in middle East negotiations.
President elect Donald Trump has his work cut out for him. Yet, there is hope. His latest tweet: “As to the U.N. things will be different after Jan 20.”
It’s Hannukah, Christmas together
and nothing can our bonds sever.
It’s God Jul and Noël
“All is peace”, God makes well.
Obama the traitor, whatever.
“Christmas and Hanukkah doesn’t have to be seen as contradictory, but rather a complimentary celebration of America’s Judeo/Christian foundation”
– Governor Sarah Palin