Christmas Day Ellen Cronin, Oblate, St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA
Sandy Spring Meeting House, MD
Christ is born to all of us today (1) Growing up in a Quaker Meeting community, with our expectant, waiting worship, with no ritual and relatively few words, I learned to enter a silence of God and to listen and look. Over years I became aware of the light, light from outside the large windows of the Quaker Meeting House, a light sometimes covering all of us in worship and sometimes radiating from one person, and the light within, light everywhere! Later when I read his Journal, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, provided words to affirm my experience: “Christ it was who had enlightened me, that gave me his light to believe in, and gave me hope, which is himself, revealed himself in me, and gave me his spirit and gave me his grace, which I found sufficient in the deeps and in weakness.” (2) And the words of the Prologue of the Book of John especially have resonated for me: “He was with God in the beginning…. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men, and light shines in darkness and darkness could not overpower it…. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone…. To those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (New Jerusalem Bible, John 1: 2, 4-5, 9, 12)
Light shining through everything
I have loved reading the poems of Ann Weems at Christmas. One is “Christmas Comes”: ‘Christmas comes every time we see God in other persons. The human and the holy meet in Bethlehem or in Times Square, for Christmas comes like a golden storm on its way to Jerusalem-determinedly, inevitably…. Even now it comes in the face of hatred and warring- no atrocity too terrible to stop it, no Herod strong enough, no hurt deep enough, no curse shocking enough, no disaster shattering enough. For someone on earth will see the star, someone will hear the angel voices, someone will run to Bethlehem, someone will know peace and goodwill: The Christ will be born!’ (3)
George Fox also wrote, “I … saw there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God.” (4)
For reflection: How will my priorities change as I receive the babe Christ this year?
1. “The Nativity Kerygma” in Seasons of Celebration by Thomas Merton, pp.101-112. 2,4. The Journal of George Fox, ed. John L. Nickalls, p.12 (2), p.19 (4). 3. Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems, 1980.