I woke at 2 .a.m..Silent night, Holy night….a cold breeze is gently playing the wind chime in the carport.

Darkness. A cossetting darkness one could welcome for the grace and the memories at the heart of it; an easier time to remember that “Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day (I’m singing it within, that traditional carol, so seemingly politically incorrect and exclusive in our divided time, “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen…” Rest us all).

It might, in fact, have been April that He was born, the same season in which He died, and this merely the solticial period when the sun was at it nadir and the pagan’s brightened with their torches and their ceremonies to penetrate and enliven that darkness before He came, and so the feast of our deliverance seemed a light-giving substitution in human hearts and minds. Traditionals will give you meterological and other reasons to believe December 25 is, in fact the day. But it does not matter. He is born everyday — and dies for us everyday. But there needs to be THIS day of our joy and remembance.

Of course, the other kind of darkness is always with us, that “heart of darkness” — and it was with me even as my sleep was interrupted and I rose in the heart of Christmas darkness. It was time to fight off that darkness and recall that He came “to save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray….O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy…. ”

It is colder than it’s been in decades on this morning in Florida, the thirties, freezing. But I welcomed it, freedom from the sultry, endlessly sunny and sticky months.

Did I pray? I go soon on a Christmas Day journey, (having attended the holy sacrifice of the mass last afternoon). It will be, God willing, an easy five hour journey in a country that is tortured by severe, paralyzing, dangerous weather. Thank you, my Blessed Lord, for sparing me that challenge. Protect and comfort my family. May we never forget you, the whole day long, or ever. And I do, so often.

I did go back to bed for that “long, winter’s nap…”

Merry Christmas! To young and old, the living and the dead, to all God’s children, as we seek and so easily forget, “the wonders of his love….”

Another carol, that. Let us sing.


….and suddenly, joy on that journey. The night of the Third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the color goes from penetential purple to rose, for joy. Joy on the journey.

That journey to Bethlehem: After so many barren and desolate places, where only a few clumps of purple anemones or cyclamen showed life and color among the scrub, it must have been comforting to see the little white town perched on its twin hills. Beyond it, the land descended, a pitted gray expanse like boiling lead suddenly frozen in the bubbling state, plunging down toward the Dead Sea. But surrounding the town were orchardds, blooming fields and olive groves…

Henri Daniel-Rops (translated from the French by Ruby Millar), 1954.

Why does no one read this great writer anymore? Or perhaps they do. I do. I share, above, his vivid evocation of the Holy Family’s journey to that birth that changed the world. Sunday night.

The Christmas golf cart parade went by my place tonight. All part of the journey.

Someone threw me a bunch of peppermint mints. I appreciated that.