And then at midnight, the priest comes out from behind the screen, and whispers to the person standing there; who passes the news on in a whisper, which spreads like flame, like ripples on water, across the expectant crowd:
"Christ is born.
"Christ is born."
Christ is born."
Hodie Christus natus est:
hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt angeli:
hodie exsultant justi dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Today Christ is born:
today the Saviour appears:
today on earth the angels sing:
the archangels announce:
today be exultant and say together:
Glory to God in the highest.
Halleluia! Halleluia! Halleluia!
(When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I sang in a boy's choir that performed the "Ceremony of Carols," and I've remembered most of it ever since. For this holy season, I've decided to post some of the lyrics, though I highly recommend following the link and listening to the performance.)