From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hogmanay: First-foot forward

1841 Auld Lang Syne Illustration  (PD)
On Hogmanay, the last day of the year, Scots wonder who will be the first-foot.

Also called the first-footer, this person is the first to enter a home on New Year’s Day.  For those seeking loopholes within this quest, be assured that it is NOT okay to leave the house at 11:59 p.m. on December 31st, only to return within two minutes.

Although the first-foot CAN be a member of the household, he or she must not have been hanging out there just before midnight.  Other “rules” also apply:  The first-footer should come bearing gifts of food and drink.  Popular items include shortbread, whiskey and fruit cake.  These, plus salt and coal, symbolically “set the luck for the rest of the year.”

Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung at Hogmanay gatherings.  The title of this 1788 poem by Robert Burns can be loosely translated as “Days Gone By.”  As the clock strikes midnight, singers link arms and bid farewell to the old year.  They then listen for the pitter-patter of first footsteps.


Copyright December 31, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 30, 2016

Debbie Reynolds: Moving on

Debbie Reynolds, c. 1970   (Public Domain)
In death as in life, Debbie Reynolds had a unique capacity for graciously moving on.

While the world at large seethed with anger over the Fisher-Taylor affair and subsequent marriage, Reynolds made a concerted effort to forgive.  It didn’t come easy and it didn’t come fast, but America’s sweetheart eventually lived up to her Girl Scout reputation.

She not only reconciled with Taylor (on a cruise ship, no less), but even allowed Fisher back into her circle. Reynolds explained:  He did give me two great children and for that I will ever be grateful…  I believe in peaceful
coexistence and being friendly with the father of your children.
Reynolds’ strength was rooted in faith.  Raised as a  
Nazarene, she once stated:  Faith helps you to overlook 
other people’s shortcomings, and love them as they are.

When her beloved daughter left this world, Reynolds moved on again - this time for good.  Although the filial relationship had been quite rocky at times, Reynolds’ last words were filled with devotion:  I want to be with Carrie.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Carrie Fisher: An enthusiastic agnostic

Fisher in 2013  (Photo by Riccardo Ghilardi)
Although immersed in The Force, Carrie Fisher still had her doubts. 

Wishing she could be like her born-again brother Todd, Carrie would have been “happy to be shown that there is a God.”  She believed that believers feel happier than even the most enthusiastic of agnostics.

Raised “Protestant Light” by her mother and as a secular Jew by her father, Fisher remained tolerant of religious perspectives.  When a Church of England advertisement was banned from being played before a showing of Star Wars, she stated:  I have no idea why they would do that...     People should get a life.

Concerning her own rocky journey, Fisher once explained:  Sometimes you can only find Heaven by backing away slowly from Hell.


Copyright December 29, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved