December 20, 2013

Christmas Tree

Dear friends,

The Chancery offices will close this afternoon for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ and will reopen December 27th. I will return to writing the Chancellor’s Diary after the New Year, on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

Every year when we take out the Christmas decorations at our home we also take out The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems. Here is one that I especially appreciate.

O Simplicitas (Madeleine L’Engle)

An angel came to me

and I was unprepared

to be what God was using.

Mother I was to be.

A moment I despaired,

thought briefly of refusing.

The angel knew I heard.

According to God’s Word

I bowed to this strange choosing.

A palace should have been

the birthplace of a king

(I had no way of knowing).

We went to Bethlehem;

it was so strange a thing.

The wind was cold, and blowing,

my cloak was old, and thin.

They turned us from the inn;

the town was overflowing.

God’s Word, a child so small

who still must learn to speak

lay in humiliation.

Joseph stood, strong and tall.

The beasts were warm and meek

and moved with hesitation.

The Child born in a stall?

I understood it: all.

Kings came in adoration.

Perhaps it was absurd;

a stable set apart,

the sleepy cattle lowing;

and the incarnate Word

resting against my heart.

My joy was overflowing.

The shepherds came, adored

the folly of the Lord,

wiser than all men’s knowing.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Fr John