The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
December 25th - Christmas Day

Rosetti, 1858-64, The Seed of David  triptych in Llandaff Cathedral

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
as seers of old have sung.
It came a blossom bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind,
with Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.
 

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispel in glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere,
true man yet very God,
from sin and death now save us,
and share our every load.

John 1:1-14

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 darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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.
 

Vasnetsov, 1885-96, Mother of God, detail, Cathedral of St Vladimir, Kiev
 
The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
     His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
     But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
     His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
     But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
     His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
     But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
     His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
     And all the stars looked down.

G.K. Chesterton

 

Revelation 22:6-17

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Christ the Alpha and Omega, 4th century, Catacomb of Commadilla, Rome
 

The King shall come when morning dawns
and light triumphant breaks;
when beauty gilds the eastern hills
and life to joy awakes.

Not, as of old, a little child,
to bear, and fight, and die,
but crowned with glory like the sun
that lights the morning sky.

The King shall come when morning dawns
and earth's dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
the day that e'er shall last;

and let the endless bliss begin,
by weary souls foretold,
when right shall triumph over wrong,
and truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns
and light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
come quickly King of kings.

 

 
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Dieu parmi nous (God is with us),
the final movement of
La Nativité du Seigneur,
played by Loîc Mallié on the organ of
Eglise Saint-Sixte

Keeping the Twelve Days of Christmas

 

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