“Once in royal David’s city…”

Still and forever my favorite Christmas hymn.

This serves as the processional for Midnight Mass at my parish.  The lights dim, a hush falls, and a small armada of 40 or so red-cassocked altar servers begin gliding into the church, working down the side aisle, rounding a corner, then up the center. The line grows, the sea of red swells, with torchbearers, incense, a deacon and at the very end, a priest bearing the Christ child, which he carries to the manger.  He blesses and incenses the creche.  The music swells.  The organ is thundering.  Then, the lights come up blazing and the choir segues into a full-throated “O Come All Ye Faithful!” We move into the sanctuary and the voices rise and trumpets flare and, really, there’s nothing quite like it.

And it’s Christmas. Beautiful, blessed Christmas.

God bless us, everyone.

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