Its the last week of Advent and all through the house, everyone is stirring….. or so it seems as we all try to lockdown final Christmas details! May this run-up to the Nativity of the Lord be as peaceful as possible for you and your loved ones. For your enjoyment (and maybe a bit of distraction), here are a few geeky tidbits to help tide you through the last-minute crazy! And if you haven’t already, be sure to purchase your ticket for Doxacon Seattle 2024 – early bird purchasing ($10 off!) closes at the end of the month.
December 17 – In western Christian communities – particularly the Roman Catholic Church – today marks the beginning of the ‘O Antiphons’. These take their name from how the daily antiphons from December 17 through December 23 start with ‘O [insert title for Jesus here]’. Lovers of holiday carols may recognize the antiphons as being the inspiration for each verse of the song ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ (the antiphon from December 23). See the antiphons for each day at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
December 19 – Did you know that there is a peace treaty for the use of outer space? On this day in 1966, the general assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution establishing a treaty that essentially resolved to only use space for the good of all humankind. Though we might fight here on earth, space (and beyond!) is to be for the benefit for all countries and “the province of all mankind”. Read the whole treaty at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
December 21 – Today in 1812, the Grimm brothers published the first volume of Kunder- und Hausmärchen (Children’ and Household Tales), more commonly known as Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Their curiosity about German folklore eventually led them to collect German folk tales – an effort oriented towards finding and sharing their cultural identity. The National Endowment for the Humanities has a lovely reflection on the history and impact of their work.
December 23 – Though it may seem common in our time, organ transplantation is a relatively new procedure. On this day in 1954, the first kidney transplant took place – performed by Doctor Joseph Murray, who is arguably one of the most important pioneers in the field. In 1990 he received the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions. Read about Joseph Murray and the first successful kidney transplant at the National Library of Medicine.
The Intersection of Faith and Fandom