28 December 2006

Christmas, Coin Hoards, and Chaplains

"When Augustus ruled alone upon the earth,
the many kingdoms of men came to an end,
and when You were made man of the pure Virgin,
the many gods of idolatry were destroyed.
The cities of the world passed under one single rule,
and the nations came to believe in one sovereign Godhead.
The peoples were enrolled by the decree of Caesar,
and we the faithful were enrolled in the name of the Godhead,
When You, our God, were made man.
Great is Your mercy, O Lord, glory to You!"

I bet Jen guessed that was my favorite Christmas hymn right off the bat. :)

I didn't post anything for Christmas, because Christmas was kind of hard to explain. I wasn't happy because I wasn't where I wanted to be, but I was content to be where God was.

There's also a huge element of anticipation, of 'next year, in Texas, with the family'. There's a term used a lot in connection with Lent, 'bright sadness'. It's a temporary sadness that carries inherent in it the possible of indescribable joy. That's kind of what I had on Christmas.

"Why is all nature so mysteriously smiling in the days of the feasts?
Why then is our soul so light and joyous?
Why does the air in the temple seem so bright?
It is all because of the flow of Thy grace, because of the reflection of the light of Tabor.
Heaven and earth are then singing together a laudable song: Alleluia!"

My current book is Origins of the European Economy, by Michael McCormick. It's a collection and analysis of the surviving evidence for travel in Europe between 300 and 900. Not much speculation, just this number of accounts and that number of coin hoards and some really good stuff. I can get way, way too in to this, and then the hard part is not babbling about it to Jen at way, way more length than she really wants to know about.

It has raised some questions that I'd like to research further. Epidemology and health history are two of the areas touched on peripherally that I'd love to get further into. What diseases, where, and why? Demographic impact? Who did they impact? So on and so forth. In the chapter about the collapse of the sea trade in the Med, McCormick suggests that because bubonic plague is tied to rats and hence to ships, shipping, and seaports, one of the side effects was to devastate the skilled communities of sailors, naviagators, shipwrights, and shipyard craftsmen. This is the bubonic plague that started in the 540s and ran for 200 years, not the much better documented and studied 14th century outbreak.

I'm only a couple hundred pages into the book, will likely mention it further later.

Only a few more days, and there will be an Orthodox chaplain out here. He's got a liturgy scheduled on the 31st, presuming his flight doesn't get cancelled for bad weather or some other such nonsense. I can't wait.


Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

I understand the feeling, all too well, my love.

I felt so lonely, but so wonderful at church, and I wanted to be with you.

I love you and miss you, always.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous nerdasaaurus said...

I have a basic understanding of epidemiology. And the impact of the plagues on the church is very interesting to me.

I believe that we have discussed the 80/20 rule as it applies to the Church. Except that the numbers are more like 90/10 or 99/1. By saying that, we know that 1% of the Church really does the work of the Church. The other 99% shows up on Sunday, if even then.

When the plagues hit Europe (regardless of age) it was the 1% of the church that fell first and hardest. That 1% were the "real McCoys"--closest to the dead and dieing, the ones ministering to the people who need it the most.

When this small number of genuine Christians fell due to the plague, the remaining 99% were left. This took the energy and vitality out of the Church, since the 1% were the first to fall. This was true of both Eastern and Western churches...the plague is an equally opportunity killer.

The good guys went first.

8:13 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

BTW, I don't mind you babbling about stuff that you enjoy, honestly.

And I'm interested in that stuff, really, and since I'm disinclined to read 1000 pages of dry academia, I'd rather have you recap it for me.

2:05 AM  

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