Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It was shortly after being introduced to U2 when I first heard Driving to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. A friend had given me a cassette copy of this recording and it instantly became a tradition to play it every Christmas Eve. Usually my brother and I would lock ourselves in our room, wrap gifts and press play on the tape deck. The years have passed pretty quickly and we have our own families and traditions to keep up with, but this year I found myself thinking of those Christmas Eve's. It always brings back great memories when I hear this recording. After a little searching I was able to find a digital copy because that old cassette is long gone, probable lost in the great basement flood of 1991. Merry Christmas to you all and as always thanks for supporting The Ash Gray Proclamation.

On this rare track Bono recites a poem by John F. Dean. Recorded for Dublin radio and first broadcast on December 31st 1983.

Driving To Midnight Mass On Christmas Eve mp3
Five-thousand million years ago, this earth lay heaving in a mass of rocks and fire
Wasting, burdened with its emptiness
Tonight, when arthropods and worms and sponges have given way to dinosaurs
And dinosaurs to working, wandering apes
Homoerectus have given way to sapiens, and he to
Homosapiens(alias Paddy Mack)

Look down on Dublin from the hills around
And lights could be a million Christmas trees
Still firs standing, while in the sky a glow as if of dawn
This day a light shall shine on us
The Lord is born within our city

Look along to the river toward O'Connell Bridge
The lights, the neon signs, all stream on water like breathed-on strips of tinsel
All is still...

Eleven-thirty, pubs begin to empty
Men stop to argue, sway and say the name of Jesus
For those who have known darkness
Who have now seen a wonderous light
Those who have dwelt on unlit streets
To them the light has come

Tonight, few cars go by
The blocks of flats with windowed-plastic trees
And fairy lights stand, watching for a miracle
Here are no dells where fairies might appear

Out from the dark an ambulance comes speeding
Sickly blue lights search in siren-still
The mystery of the night ticks slowly on
It will pass and leave memories of friends and small, half-welcomed things

In Him was life
In Him, life was the light of man
For neither prehistoric swans nor trilobites, the mesozoic birds
Neanderthal, nor modern man had ever dreamt or seen what was our God

The shops are gay with lights and bright things
All save funeral homes, they dare not advertise their presence
As midnight peels and organs start to play
Two cars meet headlong in a haze of drink
The crash flicks into silence
Pain crawls like a slime through blood and into limbs
God is revealed, a baby naked, crying in a crib

In the church porches and out along the grounds
Teenagers laugh and swear, smokin', watchin' girls
So, once more, Christmas trails away
Its meaning moves back into the mist and the march of time

written by: John F. Dean

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