The Gray Brethren
As I passed along the streets I could see through the uncurtained windows that in some houses Christmas had begun already for the little ones. Then the bells rang out deep-mouthed, carrying the call of the eager Church to her children, far up the valley and across the frozen river. And they answered; the great church was packed from end to end, and from my place by the door I saw that two tiny Christmas trees bright with coloured candles burnt either side of the Holy Child.
A blue-black sky ablaze with stars for His glory, a fresh white robe for stained and tired earth; so we went to Bethlehem in the rare stillness of the early morning. The Church, having no stars, had lighted candles; and we poor sinful men having no white robes of our own had craved them of the Great King at her hands.
And so in the stillness, with tapers within and stars alight without, with a white-clad earth, and souls forgiven, the Christ Child came to thos