Since trumpets are so common in the Bible, it is hard to understand why they are not more prominent in Christian art, as they are in the first of our two Christmas banners.   Raised against a background of pure white, the Church's symbolic color for victory and triumph, you can almost hear the royal fanfare of these heavenly trumpets announcing the birth of Mary's newborn son and the arrival of earth's newborn hope.

In contrast with the fanfare of heaven's distant trumpets however, our second Christmas banner fills our listening ears only with the silence of the stars above the sleepy little town of Bethlehem which our eyes behold through a holly wreath that also serves as our window into the past.   Bigger and brighter than all of the other stars of course, is the golden star of Bethlehem which, according to St. Matthew's Gospel, led the Magi from the east to the cradle of the Christ Child.

And so, as the familiar carol says, both "the hopes and fears of all the years are met" in the little town of Bethlehem this night of nights.

They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea;
for so it is written by the prophet:
'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will govern my people Israel."
Matthew  2:5-6