Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Eve

I've never experienced this; but a friend has told me about it.

When he was travelling, he visited an Orthodox church on Christmas Eve; one probably in Turkey or Asia, as he had lived there before; but I don't know where it was. An Orthodox service, from what I gathered, is quite different from a Western service. People mill about, while the priests conduct the rituals behind a screen that separates the people from the sanctuary, the "holy" or "separated" space.

At midnight, someone comes from behind the screen, as the rituals of worship continue, and whispers to the nearest person. Who, in turn, whispers to those around him or her; and so the whisper spreads, in a wave, across the whole space, among all the people. Very quietly, very reverently, they say to each other: "Christ is born."

Christ is born. Christ is born. Christ is born.

And once again, the miracle occurs, and once again, the word is made flesh: carried from tongue to ear, from larynx to tympanum, from soul to soul through the only medium we have, the flesh, by the only communication we have for such thoughts: the word. The miracle is re-presented, the incarnation is re-played in the simplest and most direct way, and the connection for believers between themselves and their Creator is carried in and by the very substance of their being, and is real because they share it among themselves, because they pass it along.

Christ is born. Christ is born. Christ is born.

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