Gospel Reflection for December 25th Christmas Day
Jesus is born and God is with us
Christmas Day has final arrived; the cleaning is done, the tree is fully lit and decorated and all the presents have been brought and wrapped. Now it’s time to rest, relax and rejoice.
So what have the last four weeks of being busy and preparing all been about? Christmas, which lasts for twelve full days is about Remembering and Celebrating.
So, what are we remembering? We are recalling how, where and when Jesus was born. We retell this story through prayers and reading the gospels; we sing ancient and traditional Christmas Carols which keep the story of the birth of Jesus in our hearts and minds. We may take a few minutes over the next few days to stop and stand silently in front of the crib or manger, either in our homes, the local shopping centre or in our parish church. We see the familiar scene of a young homeless couple and their new born child. They are surrounded by animals and the shepherds who came to see this family because God’s messenger, the Angel proclaimed to them; ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born you; he is Christ the Lord.’
So after remembering, we then celebrate, and rightly so. We have cleaned and decorated our homes; we gather with friends, families and neighbours and we share a meal. We recall Christmas’ past, and we remember those who are no longer with us. Why do we keep these and other ancient traditions? At the heart of Christmas is what God does for us. Through the birth of Jesus, it is not just that we come close to God; God comes close to each of us personally and intimately in the face and voice of Jesus his Son. In the dark of winter, Jesus, the Light of World comes and shares God’s very life with us. Pope Gregory the Great, who died in 640 AD, said, ‘O Christian, be aware of your dignity, it is God’s own life that you now share.’ This is great meaning, magic and mystery of Christmas.
The challenge for each is that we don’t just think of Christmas and the birth of Jesus as something that happened a long time ago in a far of country. Christmas happens in our hearts, our homes, our families and our community when we reach out in compassion and love to each other as Jesus loves each of us. Through our words and actions, we are called to make real in our own daily lives the love Jesus has for us. The birth of Jesus cannot remain in the past. It must happen now, today and every day, not only for me, but through me.
St. John Paul II, said, ‘The mystery of Jesus that took place over 2000 years ago must be lived today and every day. The Word that found a dwelling place in and through Mary comes to knock on our hearts this Christmas and every Christmas, today and every day.’
As Tiny Tim says at the end of Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ God, bless us, every one!
Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
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