...the white stars fairly blaze / At midnight in the cold and frosty sky...
(Banjo Paterson, The Man from Snowy River)
These lines came into my head as I beheld the heavens, when I came home from Midnight Mass: Orion to the north, the Southern Cross and Pointers to the south, and the great band of the Milky Way overhead. "The heavens are telling the glory of God..."
Mass at Carmel was a beautiful celebration of Christ's Birth, the modern rite at its best. Fr Peter Lucas, O.P., a wise Dominican well-known to me, and an excellent preacher, gave us a firm message, taking as his text the Epistle (Titus ii, 11-15a), and the Apostle's words therein concerning Jesus Christ, that He "gave Himself for us". Christ is the Gift, in memory of Whom all gifts are to be given and received - so what if things be commercial, so long as He be honoured therein. Now, with any present, we accept it, unwrap it (not leaving it on the shelf), marvel at it, and - if it be clothing - put it on. How much the more so with Christ: here and now, we must accept Him and all He is, the Incarnate Son of God; we must not leave off at this, leaving Him alone, but go on to take Him to ourselves; we must in sober truth marvel at Him, Who He is and why He is come - this is prayer - ; and we must "put on Christ", living henceforth a Christian life.
Light, light the darkness cannot overcome, this holy night lit up with light, the Eternal Light come down, Light from Light, true God from true God; beholding our God made visible, we are caught up in love of the God we cannot see - so sings Holy Church in the Christmas Preface. We sang Adeste fideles - "O come, all ye faithful" - that hymn of adoration of Christ, written for Benediction; we sang "O little town of Bethlehem", singing of the coming of the everlasting Light, while mortals sleep and angels sing:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.
A wonderful Christmas, to you all, dear readers, whoever you be: God bless you, in Christ.