"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." -Luke 2:8-14
Last night I went to Midnight Mass at St. Sebastian's in Woodside and it was possibly the most beautiful mass I have ever been to at Christmas. After communion they shut all the lights in the church out save for the lights on the tree and the manger. The choir sang Silent Night and then after a brief moment of silence, the lights came up and we continued with mass. Really beautiful...and here I was without a camera.
I have been to masses with the best choirs, the best preaching and even ones that welcomed parishioners and visitors well... But sometimes just a very simple ritual can bring an entire church to tears. I saw a lot of people drying their eyes after the lights came up on the altar and off. People from all different walks of life gathered as one into the life of a little baby who would be born in the wood of a manger and give his life on the wood of the cross. Christmas reminds me that in the simple birth of a baby, God comes to humanity as human...a simple birth, but a profound act that changed the history of the world as shows us the depth of our God's love for us.
Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 3/26
8 hours ago