1Last night I celebrated a Christmas Holy Eucharist with the people of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas. We started at 10:30 and went until about midnight. As we left the church, the bells rang out their joy at the coming of Christ into the world.

The mass was one of the most beautiful and true I have ever been part of. I have been searching for the words this morning to describe what I felt, to narrate the spiritual and intellectual and emotional paths my mind traveled last night. I don’t think I’ve found adequate words this morning, so I will give you instead this unsteady poem:

* * *

history was rent in two that day–that day
when earth, in all her groaning,
gave birth to heaven’s brightest star.

all the world had hummed along
in banal cruelty with only lightening
flashes of an alien hope.

on that night the promise of a
cosmic kairos–a nuclear flash,
the first touch–was enfleshed.

he cried his first breath in her arms,
drinking in his humanity with
the milk from his mother’s breasts.

hope was born that holy night;
and with shepherds and angels
I sing: Gloria in excelsis Deo
* * *

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the2 brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (found here)