Here’s something I recorded on Christmas Day this year. A 5 minute guitar improvisation looped. It’s my final comment on the year but tells us nothing new.
I happen to be reading a book Lives of Roman Christian Women at the moment. For my seasonal offering this year here is the prayer of a remarkable woman, Macrina, which comes from the day of her death in about 380 CE.
You O Lord have freed us from the fear of death
You have made the end of this life to be the beginning of our true life.
You allow our bodies to rest for a time in sleep and wake us up again at the last trumpet.
You have given in trust to the earth our earthly bodies which you have shaped with your own hand.
You have restored what you have given, transforming what is mortal and shapeless in us by means of immortality and beauty.
You have redeemed us from the curse of the law and from sin, becoming both for us.
You have crushed the heads of the dragon which seized us in its jaws, dragging us through the yawning gulf of disobedience.
You have prepared the way for the resurrection, smashing down the gates of hell, and have destroyed the one who had power over death.
You have given as a token to those who fear you the sign of the holy cross so that we can destroy the enemy and bring stability to our lives.
God eternal, at whom I threw myself from the moment I left my mother’s womb.
You whom my soul has loved with all its strength, you to whom I dedicated my flesh and my soul from my youth until this moment, give me as companion a bright angel who will take me by the hand and lead me to the place of refreshment where flows the water of repose in the bosom of the holy fathers.
You have cut through the flame of the fiery sword and allowed the man who was crucified with you and who threw himself on your mercy to enter paradise.
Remember me, too, in your kingdom when I am crucified with you, I who out of fear of you have nailed down my flesh and have feared your judgements.
Do not let the terrifying chasm separate me from your chosen ones.
Do not let the jealous one block my way.
Do not let my sin be revealed before your eyes, if I have sinned in word or deed or thought, led astray by the weakness of my nature.
You who have power on earth to forgive sins, forgive me so that I may draw breath.
Grant that I may come into your presence when I shed my body and that my soul, holy and without blemish, will be received into your hands like incense before your face.