…the point is that God is with us,
not beyond us,
Christ’s suffering shatters the iron walls
around individual human suffering,
that Christ’s compassion
makes extreme human compassion
—to the point of death even—possible.
Human love can reach right into death,
then, but not if it is merely human love.
There is nothing I can give you
Which you have not;
But there is much that,
While I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us
Unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future
Which is not hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
Behind it, yet within reach, is joy.
And so, at this Christmastime,
I greet you with the prayer that for you,
Now and forever,
The day breaks and the shadows flee away.
– Fra Giovanni Giocondo letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi, Christmas Eve 1513