Matt (palaeologos) wrote,

Christmas 2007

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Merry Christmas!

Since you were just yesterday subjected to a lengthy tirade from me, I thought I would keep it short tonight.  I would like to share with you this evening one of my favorite Christmas poems.  It's by Robert Southwell, a sixteenth-century English poet and Roman Catholic who was martyred in 1595.  The title is "The Burning Babe."

AS I in hoary winter’s night   
  Stood shivering in the snow,   
Surprised I was with sudden heat   
  Which made my heart to glow;   
And lifting up a fearful eye            5
  To view what fire was near,   
A pretty babe all burning bright   
  Did in the air appear;   
Who, scorchèd with excessive heat,   
  Such floods of tears did shed,            10
As though His floods should quench His flames,   
  Which with His tears were bred:   
‘Alas!’ quoth He, ‘but newly born   
  In fiery heats I fry,   
Yet none approach to warm their hearts            15
  Or feel my fire but I!   
‘My faultless breast the furnace is;   
  The fuel, wounding thorns;   
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke;   
  The ashes, shames and scorns;            20
The fuel Justice layeth on,   
  And Mercy blows the coals,   
The metal in this furnace wrought   
  Are men’s defilèd souls:   
For which, as now on fire I am            25
  To work them to their good,   
So will I melt into a bath,   
  To wash them in my blood.’   
With this He vanish’d out of sight   
  And swiftly shrunk away,            30
And straight I callèd unto mind   
  That it was Christmas Day.

As we celebrate the joy of God's Incarnation as Man, let us be careful not to allow our adoration of the infant Christ to degenerate into mere sentiment.  Jesus is not cute!  We cannot forget that God became Man in order that he should suffer and die, having taken upon himself the sins of the world, reconciling the creation with its Creator. 

The mystery of the Incarnation is manifest to us this night.  Let it shine like a beacon in our hearts and in our lives.  God has become Man, so that Man may become like God.  Christ is among us, and ever shall be : thanks be to God.

May all the blessings of this holy season be upon you and your loved ones. 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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