Looking Heavenward at Christmas 2005

Antiphon for Monday Vespers in the 4th week of Advent:

O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

The readings and antiphons for Vespers in the final week of Advent are especially full of hope, promise and a mystical, time-bending “gathering in.” One can almost feel the heavens bending to earth, reaching, stretching, aching to join with us, and we – who have been waiting in purple, solemn and bowed – begin to dare to look heavenward, to the stars, seeking out angels and hymns, signs and wonders.

The Anchoress
Monday December 19, 2005

Manger Square in Bethlehem in front of the Nativity Church prior to the traditional Christmas mass in the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem.

On this Holy Night, Pope Benedict XVI made an impassioned plea for peace in the Holy Land at his first Papal Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

“On this night, when we look towards Bethlehem, let us pray in a special way for the birthplace of our Redeemer and for the men and women who live and suffer there,” Benedict said in his homily at the traditional midnight mass in St Peter’s basilica attended by thousands of faithful.

“We wish to pray for peace in the Holy Land. Look O Lord, upon this corner of the earth, your homeland, which is so very dear to you. Let your light shine upon it! Let it know peace!”

The calls for peace resonated in Bethlehem tonight as the biggest influx of pilgrims in years celebrated Christmas in the West Bank town.

The Anchoress has been writing in anticipation of this great and holy day.
If you have not followed her writing this week especially, you have missed out on her wonderful words of preparation for the rememberance of Our Lord’s Birth.
Christmas is a good day to check out The Anchoress and find out yourself why she has legions of followers. She is truly one of the most gifted conservative spiritual writers of our day.

And, the Conspiracy to keep You Poor and Stupid sends out Christmas Greetings to Democrats and Republicans.

Hat Tip Larwyn

Shawn Wasson notes a gross display of politics this Christmas.

Here is a wonderful look at spontaneous acts of kindness given soldiers this Christmas.

The Iraqi-Kurdistan Symphony Orchestra played tonight in Erbil and more good news coming from Kurdistan- via Instapundit.

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