Collect - Christmas Day
O God, who makest us glad by the yearly remembrance ofA favorite passage from one of my favorite books is the quote below from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte, two young Englishmen, meet at Oxford in the period between the two world wars. Charles is not a believer, and Sebastian is from an aristocratic Roman Catholic family. After they've been friends for a while, Sebastian brings up the subject of his faith and Catholicism. What follows is the dialogue between the two:
the birth of thy only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that as we
joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure
confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge;
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one
God, world without end. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer)
Sebastian: "Oh dear, it’s very difficult being a Catholic!"
Charles: "Does it make much difference to you?"
Sebastian: "Of course. All the time."
Charles: "Well, I can’t say I’ve noticed it. Are you struggling against temptation? You don’t seem much more virtuous than me."
Sebastian: "I’m very, very much wickeder," said Sebastian indignantly."
Charles: "… I suppose they try to make you believe an awful lot of nonsense?”
Sebastian: “Is it nonsense? I wish it were. It sometimes sounds terribly sensible to me."
Charles: “But my dear Sebastian, you can’t seriously believe it all."
Sebastian: "Can’t I?"
Charles: "I mean about Christmas and the star and the three kings and the ox and the ass."
Sebastian: "Oh yes. I believe that. It’s a lovely idea."
Charles: "But you can’t believe things because they’re a lovely idea."
Sebastian: "But I do. That’s how I believe."
I love the passage, because Sebastian describes how I believe, too. It's very much the stories, the myths (not myths in the sense of something that's not true - myths in the sense of universal truths) that are a great part of what draw me into Christianity.
A Blessed and Merry Christmas to all!