A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
REFLECTION: "For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord."
Christmas stirs up memories of Love. There is the anticipated joy of a loved one coming to visit: the embraces, hugs and memories of old adventures and mishaps and the affectionate jokes or nicknames we have received along the way. As I enjoy Christmas memories, I am reminded of the first Christmas as I sit by the manger and contemplate on what and why Christmas is celebrated. Why Christmas?
On the first Christmas, I am there in the stable. Mary is exhausted. Slowly she climbs down from the very tired donkeys. St Joseph, walks slowly to help his wife and makes a makeshift bed for his wife and soon to be born Child. And suddenly in the stable, in strange hills, away from home, on a straw bed Jesus is welcomed into the world. A little squirming baby, crying, hungry and finding comfort in the arms of His Mother Mary. The baby is a gift to Mary and Joseph. But He is also a gift to you and me.
"For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:5
And the gift God gives to us this Christmas is His Son. And with the birth of our Lord, God’s love for us comes through a human face . The human face of God. The world changed with the coming of the Lord. His light shines through the darkness. We are reconciled with God through the Word becoming Flesh. This baby will save and redeem us-His life for ours. The divine nature and the nature of the servant are united. May our pilgrimage on earth bring us closer to the divinity of Christ.
Merry Christmas and let us celebrate this gift, given to you, me and the world. Emmanuel, God with us.