Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, January 20, 2014

Venite Adoremus Dominum - Rector's Rambling for Christmas Eve/Day 2013

And thus that manger poor
Became a throne;
For He whom Mary bore
Was God the Son.
O come, then, let us join
The heav’nly host,
To praise the Father, Son,
And Holy Ghost.
Venite adoremus Dominum;
Venite adoremus Dominum.

One of many favorite Christmas Carols, this one begins with the line “The snow lay on the ground” to describe the scene in Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.  And although we generally think of the Holy Land as being warm and on the cusp of the desert, we saw earlier this month, reported in the media, that in fact Israel does get snow occasionally. 
Now whether there was snow on the ground the day Jesus was born is not recorded for us.  And in fact it is only St. Luke’s gospel that records for us the details of the Angels and Shepherds, no room at the inn, and the manger.  St. Matthew mentions the birth in Bethlehem but skips forward to the adoration of the Magi (commemorated January 6) and Herod’s slaughter of the innocents (commemorated December 28).  St. Mark and St. John make no mention of the occasion of Jesus’ birth.   None of them mention the weather.
But as with so many hymns, it is usually in the ending verse that we get to the ‘meat’ of the story.  After describing the snow, the stable, Mary, Joseph, angels and shepherds, we get to the meaning and reason for this heralded occasion.  In that stable, adored by the angels and shepherds, was born not just a baby (always a miracle and gift from God), but GOD HIMSELF!
And just like all the characters in the story of Christmas, the subject of the story should drive us to our knees in adoration! 
Venite adoremus Dominum
O Come, let us adore the Lord!