26th December

Keep Watch

The shepherds said to one another ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. Luke 2: 15, 16

Once when I was living alone in my island, some of the brothers came to me on the holy day of the Lord’s nativity, and asked me to go out of my hut so that I might spend with them this day so sacred, yet so joyful. I yielded, and we sat down to a feast. In the middle of the meal I said ‘Let us be careful not to be led into temptation through recklessness’. They answered ‘Let’s be joyful today because it is the Lord’s birthday’. After a time, while we were still indulging in feasting, rejoicing and story-telling I again began to warn them that we should always be alert to any approaching temptation. They said ‘You give us excellent instruction, but let us rejoice, for the angel, when the Lord was born, gave the shepherds glad tidings of the great joy that was to be observed by all the people’. I said, ‘All right’, but later, for a third time, while they were still feasting, I gave a warning. This time they understood that I was not making this suggestion lightly, and they responded ‘Let’s do as you say. We do actually now feel compelled to guard against temptations and the snares of the devil, keeping our minds alert.’ When I said this, I did not know, nor did they, that any new trial would attack us, I was warned by instinct alone. However, when they got back to Lindisfarne the next morning, they found that the plague had struck and one of their number had died. This pestilence grew worse and worse, and nearly all that great company of spiritual fathers and brothers departed to be with the Lord. So will you, too, please always watch and pray.
Cuthbert, as recorded in Bede’s Life.

O Savior Christ
you existed before the world began.
You came to save us and we are witnesses of your goodness.
You became a tiny child in a cot
showing us the simplicity of our Parent’s love.
You chose Mary as your mother
and raised all motherhood to a divine vocation.
May all mothers be bearers of life and grace
to their husbands, their children and to all who come to their home