Here are two photos taken recently with our two community Christmas trees, which Br Paul Mills and I decorated together with Fr Aidan Nichols, OP on Christmas Eve. It's been a number of years since I had the pleasure of decorating a tree and it reminded me of my childhood, of family and the candles we used to place on our trees in Germany as we sang "O Tannenbaum..." In a way, dressing the Christmas trees here made me realize that this community is my family and we are having a family Christmas.
Below, I am wearing a tunicle which was the vestment given me to wear for the Vigil and Night Mass of Christmas. This was on account of the fact that I sang the Christmas Praeconium and acted as Cross-Bearer in the Liturgy. The Liturgy was truly beautiful, the music and ceremonial making for a solemn but joyous celebration of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
And yet even tonight, the Cross was in view. As we contemplated the Child who became vulnerable as One-with-us, a needy and helpless baby, and as we blessed the Christmas Crib, placing a figurine of this Holy Child into a manger, the prayers of blessing said this:
"May [the Crib] remind us of the love your Son showed us being wrapped in swaddling clothes and being laid in a manger; by being fastened to the wood of the Cross; by being wrapped in a shroud and laid in a tomb.
May it inspire us to come to his aid when we see him hungry and homeless.
May it recall to our minds the devotion of our blessed Lady. Like her, may we treasure in our hearts the strange things that happened, and be ready to learn their meaning.
May we imitate, too, the faith of St Joseph, the eagerness of the shepherds, the generosity of the Magi, the joy of the angels.
May the Creator Spirit who overshadowed Mary overshadow us too, that Christ the eternal Wisdom may be brought to birth in us. So may we be counted worthy to share his new birth from the tomb..."