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Hallo again to all.

We have entered the season of Christmas—the twelve days that start with the Nativity of our Lord and include the commemorations and feast days for St Stephen, St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Holy Innocents, and the Feast of the Circumcision. That's twelve days to sing Christmas carols and hymns, twelve days to read, mark, and inwardly digest the scriptures around the birth and early life of Jesus and his earthly family.

In the dark days of December 1941, when the world was embroiled in an expanding war, North American children's author Ruth Sawyer wrote,

Never before within our memory has it seemed so important to keep the Long Christmas; to begin early enough and hold the festival long enough to feel the deep, moving significance of it. For Christmas is a state of mind quite as much as a festival; and who can establish and maintain a state of mind in the rush and turmoil of a single day, or two days? Around no other time of year has been built so much of faith, of beauty. ...It is a time when man walks abroad in the full stature of his humanity and in the true image of God. He walks with grace, with laughter, and a great awareness of brotherhood.*

We think this sentiment as pertinent now as it was when Sawyer penned it.

Readers of Anglicans Online may be aware that we think one of the world's best living Anglican preachers is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This year's Christmas Message from the Queen of the United Kingdom proves the point once again. We recommend the ten-minute video to you.‡ While reflecting on the Holy Family, the Queen says,

For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus's birth—in a stable—were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country.
It's no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.
Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ's unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.
Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn't be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.

The Queen ends this year's broadcast with the reminder that 'There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives.'

We leave you with the text of one of our favourite carols by Sydney Carter:

  Every star shall sing a carol!
Every creature, high or low,
come and praise the King of heaven
by whatever name you know.
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.
When the King of all creation
had a cradle on the earth,
holy was the human body,
holy was the human birth.
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.
Who can tell what other cradle,
high above the milky way,
still may rock the King of heaven
on another Christmas day?
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.
Who can count how many crosses,
still to come or long ago,
crucify the King of heaven?
Holy is the name I know.
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.
Who can tell what other body
he will hallow for his own?
I will praise the Son of Mary,
brother of my blood and bone.
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.
Every star and every planet,
every creature high and low,
come and praise the King of heaven
by whatever name you know.
         God above, Man below, holy is the name I know.

See you next week, still bathed in the light of the Christmas star.


Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

27 December 2015

*Sawyer, Ruth. The Long Christmas, prologue, p.14 (1941).

‡The transcript of The Queen's Christmas Broadcast can be found here.

Sydney Carter, Every star shall sing a carol (The Universe Carol).
Audio recording:

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