Rejoice! Rejoice! He is coming!

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
"All hail," said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady," Gloria!

Christmas Eve, the night before the dawn before the day of Christmas, in the words of Christmas Present - all is hushed, low, for angel wings trouble the air high above the earth, the shepherds keep watch in the cold, and the Magi wend their way through far distant lands, following a star.

"For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favored lady," Gloria!

The Holy Family arrive in Bethlehem, mother with child, brave carpenter knocking and calling, looking for room, looking for a place for Mary to give birth, for it's clear now what will happen in Bethlehem. Just as David was born here long centuries ago, so now will the Son of David, the promised Messiah, also be born here.

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name."
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

There isn't much in the way of obvious favor at this point in the Christmas story. A long journey; a powerful, distant government demanding each citizen return to their ancestral home to be enrolled in a great census, a great counting of commodities, of property; and no room, no room at the inn for God almighty at His most powerless, for the virgin Mother of God as she prepares to give birth, or for Joseph, her most chaste spouse, who, if he'd had the time and the resources, probably could have built them all a house, but no time, now, no time at all.

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say--
"Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

He is coming, the Messiah, the Christ, in an advent unlike anything the world had ever seen or suspected: the Bread of Life, laid on grain in a manger in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. The Son of Man was born in a barn. He who made the heavens and the earth found a resting place amongst the lowest (and lowing) creatures, for there was no room for Him in the houses and inns of mankind in that little town of Bethlehem.

He is coming. Let us rejoice, and be glad.