World’s true Light

Daily Reading for December 24 • Christmas Eve

Heavenly Father

you made this holy night radiant

with the brightness of your Son Jesus Christ:

help us to welcome him as the world’s true Light

and bring us to eternal joy in his kingdom;

where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit

one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for Christmas Eve, from An Anglican Prayer Book 1989 of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.

Welcome all wonders in one sight!

Eternity shut in a span!

Summer in winter! day in night!

Heaven in earth! and God in man!

Great little one, whose all-embracing birth

Lifts earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to earth!

Welcome, tho’ nor to gold, nor silk,

To more than Cæsar’s birthright is:

Twin sister seas of virgin’s milk,

With many a rarely-temper’d kiss,

That breathes at once both maid and mother,

Warms in the one, cools in the other.

She sings Thy tears asleep, and dips

Her kisses in Thy weeping eye:

She spreads the red leaves of Thy lips,

That in their buds yet blushing lie.

She ‘gainst those mother diamonds tries

The points of her young eagle’s eyes.

Welcome—tho’ not to those gay flies

Gilded i’ th’ beams of earthly kings,

Slippery souls in smiling eyes—

But to poor shepherds, homespun things,

Whose wealth’s their flocks, whose wit’s to be

Well read in their simplicity. . . .

To Thee, meek Majesty, soft King

Of simple graces and sweet loves!

Each of us his lamb will bring,

Each his pair of silver doves!

At last, in fire of Thy fair eyes,

Ourselves become our own best sacrifice!

From “A Hymn of the Nativity, sung by the Shepherds” by Richard Crashaw (1613-1649).

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