It was September, and then October, and then Advent… and now it’s Christmas Eve. Some will – I will – be gathering with fellow travelers at an altar and a makeshift manger (not many celebrate in stables and cowsheds these days) to remember and wonder at the birth of a baby 2000 years ago who improbably and irreversibly changed our lives. “What can I give him, poor as I am?” asks Christina Rossetti in her poem A Christmas Carol. What, indeed? Then she answers her own question: “Give my heart.” In the end, that’s all we have, and it is our treasure only when we give it away.
Whoever you are, wherever you celebrate, I wish you silent star-lit nights, days that are merry and bright, and glad tidings of great joy.
I’ll be a-Christmasing for the full 12 days. Tomorrow is Day 1. For now, here is one of two settings of Rossetti’s Carol, which we know as In the Bleak Midwinter.