Canterbury Cathedral, site of the shrine of Thomas Beckett
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
—Prologue to the Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer.
The Sussex carol, first published in 1684 by Luke Wadding, an Irish bishop; rediscovered and written down by Ralph Vaughan Williams, who heard it being sung a lady in Sussex.
The feast day of your birth
St. Ephraim the Syrian (306-373)
The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.
Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.
You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.
In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.
Almighty God and Father of light, a child is born to us an a Son is given to us. Your eternal Word leapt down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of God. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
—International Committee on English in the Liturgy
May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.