dawn from on high

It is a glorious morning here in Cheviot. I prayed sitting in the garden, the only sounds coming from neighbour’s children no doubt enjoying Christmas presents. The Canticle of Zechariah was especially poignant this morning:

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.
Luke 1:68-79

The Christmas Eve Masses at Amberley, Hawarden and Hanmer Springs were wonderful gatherings of people attracted by the true spirit of Christmas. In an hour the communities of Waiau and Cheviot will gather for Mass. One of the wonderful Christmas traditions that has been a part of the Christmas Mass celebrations here in the Hurunui is the serving of refreshments with Christmas Cake immediately after Mass. Last night at Hawarden people relaxed after Mass with the good company, and good cake. We will do the same at Cheviot and Waiau this morning.

I recall a Christmas visit to the Chatham Islands a few years ago. Immediately after the 9.00pm Christmas Eve Mass a few of the younger men present produced a bottle of Glenfiddich which they shared with all present.

I’m thinking of the Chathams this morning. It is always good to be with parishioners for Christmas. Thankfully another priest is with them this Christmas, but as Parish Priest it is difficult to not be with parishioners for these major feasts.

As I prayed this morning I remembered the Chathams sunrise photo that I took on that visit from the Church of St. Therese of Lisieux, looking out across the bay at Waitangi.  I’ll share it with you as a Christmas gift, so that we might all remember that in this feast, and now every moment:

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.
Luke 1:68-79

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