Blessed Christmas!

Though it may not be on the Top 40 list of Christmas carols, one that means so much to me goes like this:

Of the Father's love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

The text dates back to the 10th century and has been translated into English by several different authors.

On Christmas Day, we tend to become very sentimental. For many of us, Christmas memories are among the most vivid. In my own life, there are several that stand out. My first Christmas memory involves a toy semi-truck. Later on there was a red bicycle. After my father passed away when I was but six years old, I remember my aunt and uncle trying to make Christmas a day of joy and happiness for us. I also remember, oddly enough, the fact that they gave my mother a towel rack for the bathroom. That towel rack was around until I was an adult. One of my most cherished Christmas memories dates back to 1967 when I was but a novice in the Franciscan Order. The only gift we got that year was a single album by a Brazilian artist, Antonio Carlos Jobim. By the time we made profession in August of 1968, we had managed to wear that record out.

There is definitely a place for sentiment on this festival day. However, when I sing this hymn, I am reminded of the fact that the Incarnation was but the end of a long, long plan which we call Salvation History. It all began before the world was created. God had decided to become one of us long before we needed God to become one of us. Jesus became the man who was also God, the end and culmination of the plan. He was its beginning (Alpha) and its end (Omega).

As we celebrate this Christmas, I give thanks for God's love as it is manifested in my life through the love of family and friends and confreres. As the Administrator of CUSA, I have come to know even more love and concern. It is for this reason that God's Love as it is expressed in Jesus is the focus of my attention and prayer this Christmas Day. God bless you all.

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam's children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Saviour of our race;
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

Righteous Judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father's throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, Thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
 Honour, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

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