Christmas Birth

My husband has always bemoaned the fact that he was born on Christmas day. Pretty tough competition, if you think about it. On a trip back to Ohio recently, he asked his 94 year old mother how it was to be in the hospital on that Christmas Eve day in 1927.

Her beautiful silver hair resting on a pillow in a favorite rocker, she reminisced:

"It was the happiest and loneliest Christmas I ever spent," she began. "Your father was in the florist business and, of course, Christmas was their busiest time of year. It was impossible for him to spend time at the hospital with me. There were relatives in the city, but they were involved with their preparations and activities with their own families. As the nurses carried out their tasks, they seemed preoccupied, watching the clock, impatient for their shifts to end so they could join their loved ones for holiday festivities. The nuns could be seen performing their duties faithfully, much as if it were any other day of the year. Few visitors graced the long, shiny, silent corriders. St Anne's Hospital was a very quiet place to spend Christmas."

But it was here that she brought forth her first-born son and laid him on her breast. She called his name "Richard", a kingly name.

As darkness fell, the starry sky outside the hospital window brought thoughts of now familiar stories of that silent night so long ago- Angels' Songs, Searching Shepherds, Shining Stars, A Stable, A Son, A Savior.

It was a time for Miracles, perhaps the greatest of which is: that whether you believe the story as historically and literally true, or view it as a metaphor or fable representing profound truths, there is no denying that its essence has continued, over these 2,000 years, offering hope for new birth, possibilities for new life, courage for new beginnings.

"Hallelujah, oh how the angels sang

Hallelujah, how it rang.

And the sky was bright with a holy light

'Twas the birthday of a king."

And so it is.