In all the cosmos, there is nothing so important as Christmas. Among the wheeling galaxies, immense clouds of gasses, and black holes you will find no celestial body to rival the Star of Bethlehem. Christmas is the window that lets in the light of the universe, the means by which we see all that is. Advent allows us to throw open the sash and let that light in. It is the point of entry for the divine interruption that Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh called “the flash.” The first of his great Christmas poems, “Advent,” is about how to regain the freshness of vision that accompanies childhood.

Christmas is the refreshing of the world, an interruption of aging, cynicism, and habit.