1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

Wondrous News to All the Earth

By December 25, 2008

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Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Those words rang out, over and over again, on Christmas Eve at St. Michael's Byzantine Catholic Church in Flushing, Michigan, and at other Byzantine Catholic churches around the world. When we're in Flint on Christmas Eve, my family and I always go to St. Michael's for Divine Liturgy, which is proceeded by a half-hour of koledy, Christmas carols, both the standards of the Anglo-American world and traditional Eastern European ones.

Christmas carols are a wonderful example of how our Faith is to inform our lives. Very few of the most loved ones started out as hymns but instead arose from popular piety and peasant culture. Over the centuries, they worked their way back into the churches for Christmas Eve and the entire period of Christmastide. And every year, they spill back out of the churches and into our homes.

One of my favorite Byzantine Catholic koledy is "Wondrous News," a simple melody and lyrics that captures the essence of the divine mystery of Christmas:

Wondrous news to all the earth
First and only virgin birth.
Born in Bethlehem
Born of Mary
Yet both God and Man.

The day after Christmas, most radio stations will quit playing Christmas songs and return to their normal fare. But this year, let's keep the Christmas season alive throughout the 12 days of Christmas. Continue playing Christmas carols in your home until Epiphany. If you don't have CDs of Christmas music, pick some up at a post-Christmas sale, or use an internet radio service, such as Pandora or Last.fm, to stream Christmas carols from the web.

These simple songs, with their moving melodies, are little catechisms, filling our hearts with the truth of Christmas: God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son to save us.

Best wishes to all the readers of the About.com Guide to Catholicism for a very Merry Christmas--all 12 days of it!--and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

The Christmas Season:

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