Merry Christmas!

Though I was raised Baptist, and spent most of my early adulthood avoiding churches altogether, I became Catholic as an adult. The priest who was largely responsible for my conversion endeared me to the faith with a curious mix of humility and sarcasm, and with his self-effacing messages about universal human imperfection. He had, as one of his peccadilloes, an insistence that he would not say “Merry Christmas” until it actually was Christmas, and the Christmas season doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve. (Before that, it is Advent, of course.)

So in honor of Father Carucci’s memorable hard line on this issue, I say to all of you, “Merry Christmas,” and share with you a historically mindful prayer about The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Twenty-fifth Day of December,
when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,

when God in the beginning created heaven and earth,
and formed man in his own likeness;

when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace;

in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt;

around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;

in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

in the year seven hundred and fifty-two
since the foundation of the City of Rome;

in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,

JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since his conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

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