Madeleine L’Engle is one of my favorite writers. Her memoir, The Irrational Season, includes a chapter about Christmas in which Madeleine tells the story of one Christmas in her family in which a close relative died and yet Christmas came and the Word was flesh and dwelt among us.
“The chapel is small, and in this smallness, holding Charlotte in my arms, with Lena leaning against me, I began to move into Christmas. The Sisters sang Solemn Vespers for Christmas Eve, and their high, clear voices, moving antiphonally back and forth across the chapel, contained for me the same reality I felt in the strong words of the Kaddish. Then we all gathered around the creche, the children on tiptoe to see the shepherds, the animals, Mary and Joseph and the infant in the crib, the helpless thing containing the brilliance of the galaxies and the shadow of the cross.
It was impossible, but for the moment I was the White Queen, and the loving and beautiful bodies of my grandaughters made it possible for me to believe: they have not been created to be discarded like dross; the baby lying between the ox and the ass affirms the ultimate value of all life.”
This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.
A song: “I understand Christmas as I understand Bach’s Sleepers Awake or Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. . . When I am able to pray with the mind in the heart, I am joyfully able to affirm the irrationality of Christmas.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
A booklist: A Madeleine L’Engle Annotated Bibliography
A birthday: Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, b.1875.
A poem: Sunset by Rainer Maria Rilke.