Walking Bewildered in the Light
The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.
The Child that was ere worlds begun
( … We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone … )
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.
—G. K. CHESTERTON, FROM "THE WISE MEN" IN
A MOTLEY WISDOM (NIGEL FORDE)
God's Great News
At Christmas time God cups his hands over his mouth, as it were, and shouts at the top of his voice, so that with all the din going on around them, human beings might hear what he has to say: "Listen! I've got great news that will bring you glorious joy!"
—Stuart and Jill Briscoe in
Meet Him at the Manger
Walking with the Shepherds
Send, O God, into the darkness of this troubled world, the light of your Son: let the star of your hope touch the minds of all people with the bright beams of mercy and truth; and so direct our steps that we may always walk in the way revealed to us, as the shepherds of Bethlehem walked with joy to the manger where he dwelt who now and ever reigns in our hearts, Jesus Christ our Lord.
—John Wallace Suter in The Communion of Saints:
Prayers of the Famous (ed. Horton Davies)
The Gift Unspeakable
Again they play, the children with their toys,
Gay parties draw the older girls and boys;
Regathered families hail the festive day,
And jovial revellers their gifts display:
How strange!—how almost inconceivable,
So few receive Heaven's "Gift Unspeakable"!
Yet none the less, as carol strains resound,
Adoring hearts will everywhere be found;
The throne-room of the soul they will prepare,
To give the Saviour-King new welcome there:
And He will see, and say, with gentle smile,
"The nails and thorny-crown were all worthwhile."
—J. Sidlow Baxter from "Another Christmas" in
Sourcebook of Poetry (comp. Al Bryant)
When I Give Birth to Christ
We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.
—Meister Eckhart, quoted in
Gospel Medicine (Barbara Brown Taylor)
Greet the New Day
And so at this Christmas time I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with the prayer that now and forever the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
—Fra Giovanni, quoted in
Think on These Things
Who started the rumour that one needs a lot of money to remember, to rejoice, to celebrate the birthday of the one who chose to become poor for us?
—A worker among the poor in Mexico in
Procession of Prayers (comp. John Carden)
O Holy Night
This [Christmas] night bestowed peace on the whole world;
so, let no one threaten;
this is the night of the Most Gentle One—
let no one be cruel;
this is the night of the Most Humble One—
let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy—
let us not revenge;
now is the day of good will—
let us not be mean-spirited.
In this day of peace let us not be conquered by anger …
Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
so, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we received a gift, for which we did not ask;
so let us give alms to those who implore us and beg.
This present day cast open the heavenly
door to our prayers:
let us open our door to those who
ask our forgiveness.
Now the Divine Being took upon
Himself the seal of humanity,
in order for humanity
to be adorned by the
seal of Divinity.
—Saint Isaac of Syria; 7th c. "Christmas Sermon"
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