U2’s Bono on the Wonder of Christmas

I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I had done school there for a year. It’s where Jonathan Swift was dean. Anyway, some of my Church of Ireland friends were going. It’s kind of a tradition on Christmas Eve to go, but I’d never been. I went to this place, sat. I was given a really bad seat, behind one of the huge pillars. I couldn’t see anything. I was sitting there, having come back from Tokyo, or somewhere like that. I went for the singing, because I love choral singing. Community arts, a specialty! But I was falling asleep, being up for a few days, traveling, because it was a bit boring, the service, and I just started nodding off, I couldn’t see a thing. Then I started to try and keep myself awake studying what was on the page. It dawned on me for the first time, really. It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story. The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Logic in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw… a child… I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poverty… Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but the tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.

Bono in conversation with Michka Assayas

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