Monday, December 24, 2007
From our family to yours, we wish you a joyful Christmastide and a blessed New Year!
Christmastide: The Nativity of Our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, Commonly Called Christmas Day -- December 25
The Collect from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Gospel reading for this first day of the twelve days of Christmas is the very beginning of the Gospel of Saint John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Alpine Anglican and Lake Murray and even the Lutheran Church in our town held early evening services, an impossibility for me to attend with a houseful of people. So I sneaked quietly into the very back row of Christ the King, an Episcopal Church also in Alpine, for 11 PM Christmas Service. I missed Lessons and Carols -- came in on the last one -- but I did get to stand in a darkened church lit only by candlelight at midnight, candle in hand, singing "Silent Night." That's the way to ring Christmas in, with tears of joy in worship rolling down one's face, right?
Happy Birthday, Jesus! Venite adoremus, Dominum! Gloria in excelsis Deo!