Friend Dennis Danielson, professor of English at the University of British Columbia, sent along this passage from the seventeenth-century English clergyman Thomas Adams to raise our sights above the tinsel, presents, food, and fun of a “Santa Festival” to what is really on offer at Christmas:
Behold the day breaks, the sun riseth, darkness vanisheth, wrath and malediction give place to favour and salvation.
Justice is content to give mercy the upper hand.
Grace comes down from the imperial court of glory, in a refulgent throne of ivory, drawn by swans and doves, simplicity and innocency. Thousands of angels wait upon her, those celestial voices make her melody; the sun calls his beams to do her reverence, the moon and stars bow low to her; the obedient clouds part to give her way, the earth springs to welcome her; … the floods clap their hands for joy; the birds sing in the air, the beasts skip in the pastures.
There is a universal holiday all over the world; only hell trembles, and the infernal spirits be struck with melancholy. Truth and righteousness go before her, peace and prosperity follow after her, pity waits on her left hand, on her right hand mercy; and when she first sets her foot on the earth she cries,
“A pardon, a pardon. Hear, ye sons of men, and thereby sons of wrath. My sister, Love, hath prevailed with your offended Father, and he hath sent me, the daughter of his goodness, to bring you news of a Jesus, the Son of his delight and greatness.
“Lo, he shall come down to the earth, that you may ascend up into heaven; he shall die, that you may live. Thus dear do you cost him; be thankful to him. A pardon, a pardon! Let the heavens sing, and the earth shout for joy, and the whole frame of nature triumph! Peace be with you, for God is reconciled unto you. To assure you of which comfort, I, Grace, do promise both to live with you during this world, and that you shall live with me in the world to come.”
May your Christmas Day, and every day thereafter, glow brightly in the Light of the World!