All of the Spirit’s labor—the pruning of our imagination, the background work on our expectations—comes to fruition on Christmas Day, when we are brought into the Presence. The virgin who for nine months has been weaving the veil of the temple out of the material of her own body sits in stupefied and exhausted silence. Following the line of her gaze toward the manger, we too “veiled in flesh, the Godhead see.” The angels sing the first Gloria, for where there is Presence, there too is praise: the two are inseparable. We too allow our ears, our voices and then our hearts to proclaim the Creator’s new mode of Presence among us. We are going to be inducted into lifelong praise.
James Alison is the author of Broken Hearts and New Creations: Intimations of a Great Reversal (Continuum) and a forthcoming adult introduction to the Christian faith, The Forgiving Victim: An Induction into Christian Vulnerability.