O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
When Maureen opened the surgery she found an envelope had been slipped under the door. She left it on the doctor’s desk. Later Doctor Everett approached Maureen saying, ‘Did you see this letter? Why don’t you read it.’ Maureen took the letter in her hand.
‘Dear Doctor Everett’, it began. ‘I had been sick for many years but had not gone to a doctor. When my friend finally convinced me to see you I was very frightened. But the moment I walked into your practice, the lovely lady at the desk made me feel relaxed. She spoke to me about the fact I had never been to the doctor and she explained what it would be like. She asked me to sit down, held my hand for a while and poured me a glass of cold water.
Then when I sat in your surgery you were so kind to me, so respectful. I had not experienced acceptance like that in many years. Your treatment and referrals mean I am now in pretty good health. Grateful as I am for my improved health, I am more grateful for your kindness to me. Thank you, Doctor, and a very happy Christmas to you and the lady in the office. Sincerely, Olive Stokes.’
Christmas is the feast of Love. Love which is always ready to make allowances and which never comes to an end.
The winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree is forming its first figs and blossoming vines give out their fragrance. Come then, my love, my lovely one, come.- Song of Songs 2:11-13
Loving God, with the coming of your Son divine love is made visible in our world. Through him who became like us may we be enabled to become like him. Then may love sustain your peoples’ every action, their every word. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
How day breaks when it breaks, how clear and light the moon- From ‘For a friend in travail’ by Adrienne Rich
Melting into moon-coloured air
Moist and sweet, here on the western edge.
Love for the world, and we are part of it,
How the poppies break from their sealed envelopes
She did not tell.
‘Hymn on love’ (1 Corinthians 12:27-13:8a - 57AD) - a chant composed by Manoli Xatzimarkos and sung by Petros Gaitanos in Byzantine Greek, with accompanying English and contemporary Greek translation.
* The seven ‘O Antiphons’ (they each begin with ‘O’) are age-old songs that are part of the Catholic Church’s liturgy for Evening Prayer. Each evening, for Advent’s last eight days leading up to Christmas, one of the antiphons is sung. Each antiphon addresses Jesus with a unique title taken from the Prophet Isaiah.