Continue tomorrow, with the Twelve days of Christmas 2022-23

Saturday 24 December — Christmas Eve

Antiphon: She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.


Artwork by Sister Mary Charles McGough, of the, Benedictine Sisters St Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnestota.

The Disarming Child
Charlie Lowell

Helpless and human
Deity in the dirt,
Spirit married with flesh
We couldn't make it to you,
But you come to us.

You always come to us.
In our stubbornness and desire,
Entitlement and shame
Remind us that we need you,
Merge your untamed Spirit with our flesh.

We try to forget those
Years of wandering.
Shackles and masters,
An eternity of doubting
And still, you come to us.

A divine intrusion
Through our scheming and chaos —
Coats of armour, angels and armies.
Do some wrecking here,
And gently come to us.

Disturb us this day
Through sorrow and through dancing,
The bliss of joy and sting of death
Past hands that would threaten and tear,
You come to us extravagantly.

From your manger lowly,
Mighty and mysterious
You come to us, Seed of Heaven
Spirit wed with flesh,
These broken hearts to mend.

Isaiah 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Psalm 89:19-21

19. Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said: ‘I have set the crown on one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20. I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21. my hand shall always remain with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.
22. The enemy shall not outwit him, the wicked shall not humble him.
23. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24. My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him; and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers.
26. He shall cry to me, “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”
27. I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
28. Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him, and my covenant with him will stand firm. 29. I will establish his line for ever, and his throne as long as the heavens endure.

Matthew 1:1-25

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

how clearly we see you at Christmas-time,
cradled by Mary,
protected by Joseph,
worshipped by shepherds,
honoured by kings,
enshrined on the altar,
and loved by the world.

But, oh Lord,
help us look for you, too,
among the taxes of life,

and the wanderings of rootless travellers.
In the world's smelly stables,
and in makeshift mangers.
In sweat-like drops of blood
and rough-hewn crosses, humanly fashioned.
Help us look, Lord —
and help us find!

Not only at Christmas,
but throughout a new year that it might become indeed
'the year of our Lord.
— Mary Sue H Rosenberger,
Sacraments in a refrigerator, Brethren Press, 1979.

В темную нічку [In the Dark Night] about the birth of Jesus. Sung by the Monks of Svetogorskaya Lavra in Ukraine.

В темную нічку, над Вифлеємом,
Ясна зоря зійшла,
Світлом землю покрила.
Пречиста Діва, свята Невіста,
В вертепі бідному Синочка зродила.

Спи, Ісусе, спи, маленький,
Спи, Ти, зірочко, моя.
Твою долю, мій миленький,
Тобі співаю я . . .


Ніжно цілувала, пеленою вкрила,
Поклала спати, тихо пісню завела:
Виростеш, Ти, Синку,
Станеш Ти дорослим,
У світі підеш, Дитиночка Моя . . .


Любов Господню і Божу правду
Ти, світом віри, людям своїм поенесеш,
Правда буде жити, гріха окови розіб'є,
Но на Голгофі умре Дитятко моє . . .


Спи, Ісусе, спи, маленький,
Спи, Ти - мій рожевий цвіт,
І з надією на Тебе
Дивиться увесь світ!

In the dark night, over Bethlehem,
A clear dawn has risen
Light covered the earth.
Immaculate Virgin, Holy Bride,
Sonochka gave birth to a poor man in the manger.

Sleep, Jesus, sleep, little one,
Sleep, you, my little star.
Your fate, my dear,
I sing to you...


Gently kissed, covered with a veil,
I put her to bed, quietly started a song:
You will grow up, son,
You will become an adult
You will go in the world, My baby . . .


God's love and God's truth
You, the world of faith, will carry your people,
The truth will live, the shackles of sin will break,
But my Child will die on Calvary..


Sleep, Jesus, sleep, little one,
Sleep, You are my pink flower,
And with hope in You
The whole world is watching!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mark Lowry (1984) and Buddy Greene (1991). "Mary, Did You Know?" Sung by Pentatonix (2012).

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.