Friday, December 15, 2006

O Holy Night!

December 14, 2006

Christmas…In the early dawn after Christ’s Birth the three chief shepherds came from their hill to the Cave of the Nativity with their presents, which they had gathered beforehand (could it have been the brightness in the sky that led them to this place?) What about the star. It was a sign, greater than they had seen in the sky on any other night. They were accustomed to watching their flocks by night. Their vision was never so clear. This night was like no other. It was a sacred night.

These presents were little animals not unlike tiny roe deer. If they were kids, those in that country look very different from ours here at home. They had long necks, very clear beautiful eyes, and were very swift and graceful. The shepherds also had strings of dead birds hanging over their shoulders and they carried live birds under their arms. When they knocked shyly at the door at the cave (whatever that was made of, a rock, stone or board) St. Joseph came towards them with a friendly greeting. They told him what the angel had announced to them that night, and how they were come to worship the Child of the Promise and to present their poor gifts to him. Joseph took their gifts with humble gratitude, and made them take the animals into the little chamber (the entrance of which is by the southern door of the cave). Then he accompanied them into the cave itself and led the three shepherds up to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was sitting on the coverlet on the ground by the Crib, holding the Infant Jesus before her on her lap. The shepherds, holding their staffs in their hands, threw themselves humbly on their knees before Jesus, weeping for joy. They had remained a long time speechless with happiness and then began to sing the angel’s hymn of praise which they had heard in the night, and as they prayed and sang the psalms of joy, they felt an inner peace they had not known before. When they got up to take their leave, the Virgin put the little Jesus into their arms one after the other. They gave Him back to her with tears and left the cave forever changed by this night, this place, their experience and the touch of the baby’s skin against their hearts, His Heart only beating on earth for less than 12 hours touched theirs inexplicably.

What they came away with was a Gift greater than the small gifts they bore, however the most acceptable gift they presented was their faith. In that holy place, on this Holy Night, they bore their faith and laid it at His tiny feet. It was the most acceptable gift and as they laid their hearts bare, He blessed them and changed them in an instant and though their visit was brief, His impression on them was eternal.

May the Infant bless you and your family this Christmas and may the humble joy of the Holy Night remain with you throughout the New Year. Merry Christmas!

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at

1 comment:

Tom McGowan said...

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Keep these blogs coming! I look forward to the blogs in 2007.