Happy Christmas

Nativity Scene icon by Fr Luke Dingman

“The Word did not become a philosophy, a theory or a concept to be discussed, debated or pondered. But the Word became a person, to be followed, enjoyed and loved!”

May the Father,
who has loved the eternal Son
from before the foundation of the world,
shed that love upon you his children.

May Christ,
who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
fill you with joy and peace.

May the Holy Spirit,
by whose overshadowing Mary became the Godbearer,
give you grace to carry the good news of Jesus Christ.

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always.
Amen.

The Worlds Loveliest Smell™

Screenshot of Palmolive Naturals website

I honestly think I’ve just experienced a bit of what heaven is like.

Have you smelled the Palmolive Naturals norishing liquid handwash, the one with Almond Milk? If not then do. Honestly, it’s officially The Worlds Loveliest Smell™. It smells like small, fluffy baby angels. Hmmmm…

I just hope now that Palmolive don’t test this on animals. Or polute the water table in their manufacturing process. Because that would just spoil EVERYTHING!

No almonds were hurt in the writing of this blog post.

Christmas Eve preparations

The interior of the building of the Church of St Margaret of Scotland, Leven
The interior of the building of the Church of St Margaret of Scotland, Leven

This evening I’ll be dusting down my cassock alb for the first time in months and conducting Midnight Mass at the Church of St Margaret of Scotland, Leven. The service booklets have been prepared and printed (according to Fr Kelvin’s observation), my clerical shirts have been washing and ironed, matching dog collars fitted, suit and shoes are in the wardrobe ready and my sermon has been written. All I have to do now is wait.

Incidentally, that was possibly the longest I’ve ever spent working on a sermon. I have much respect to those NSMs who preach more regularly and manage to prepare for it ever week or two while holding down a full-time job. Mind you, I’m not surprised it took me most of the week, last weekend I was preparing for a big presentation to the University last Tuesday, as we shared with them the progress we’ve made on the website redesign project. And then I also had to present to Chaplaincy the title of my sermon before the end of the week, as I’ve been invited to preach at St Salvator’s Chapel (the University chapel) on Sunday 21 January.

Anyhow, before any of that can happen we’re off to Musselburgh this morning for the dedication service of Sophie Cooke, daughter of Roger and Sarah; Jane was at school with Sarah, and I was at TISEC with Roger.

The -ize have it

Two eyes

The other day at work I had a conversation with someone about whether they use -ize or -ise at the end of certain words. I said when the option arises I tend towards -ize.

“But that’s an Americanism!”, my colleague objected.
“No it’s not!” said I.

Anyway, here is what Henry W. Fowler has to say about the matter in his excellent volume A Dictionary of Modern English Usage:

-IZE, -ISE, IN VERBS. In the vast majority of the verbs that end in -ize or -ise and are pronounced -Ä«z, the ultimate source of the ending is the Greek -izo, whether the particular verb was an actual Greek one or was a Latin or French or English imitation, and whether such imitation was made by adding the termination to a Greek or another stem.

Most English printers follow the French practice of changing -ize to -ise; but the OED of the Oxford University Press, the Encyclopaedia Britannica of the Cambridge University Press, The Times, and American usage, in all of which -ize is the accepted form, carry authority enough to outweigh superior numbers.

The OED’s judgement maybe quoted: ‘In modern French the suffix has become -iser, alike in words from Greek, as baptiser, évangéliser, organiser, and those formed after them from Latin, as civiliser, cicairiser, humaniser. Hence, some have used the spelling -ise in English, as in French, for all these words, and some prefer -ise in words formed in French or English from Latin elements, retaining -ize for those of Greek composition.

But the suffix itself, whatever the element to which it is added, is in its origin the Greek -izein, Latin -izare; and as the pronunciation is also with z, there is no reason why in English the special French spelling should be followed, in opposition to that which is at once etymological and phonetic’.

It must be noticed, however, that a small number of verbs, some of them in very frequent use, like advertise, devise, and surprise, do not get their -ise even remotely from the Greek -izo, and must be spelt with -s-; the more important of these are:

  • advertise
  • apprise
  • chastise
  • circumcise
  • comprise
  • compromise
  • demise
  • despise
  • devise
  • disfranchise
  • disguise
  • enfranchise
  • enterprise
  • excise
  • exercise
  • improvise
  • incise
  • premise
  • supervise
  • surmise
  • surprise

The difficulty of remembering which these -ise verbs are is in fact the only reason for making -ise universal, and the sacrifice of significance to case does not seem justified.

So now we know.

Back in hospital

Diagram of a human spine

If it is your discipline, please pray for my sister Jenni as she went into hospital this morning by ambulance.

She’s had a really sore back for about 6 weeks now but this morning was in real agony, Mum called the doctor who immediately recommended an ambulance and a Do Not Pass Go card straight to the hospital. The last I heard she was waiting in line for an x-ray.

I’ll post more when I know.

Update at 21:20

I’ve just spoken with Mum on the telephone. Jenni is to be kept in overnight at least. It sounds as though they are not entirely sure what the problem is but that it may concern the soft tissue in her lower spine.

I also spoke with Jenni’s son Benjamin who was an absolute star looking after his Mum as she lay on the living room floor as they were waiting for the ambulance to arrive, getting her a pillow, travelling rug and a glass of water to take her pain-killers, with a straw in the glass because he knew that she couldn’t sit up to drink it. He’s such a kind and thoughtful young man (11 years old).

Thanks for your continued prayers.