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Christmas—25 December AD 2018 Ave Maria!

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord.”[1]

Each Christmas we are privileged to offer three Masses; at midnight, at dawn, and during the day itself. Each of the three Masses has its own separate text; a proper Epistle, Gospel, and so on for each. And each one presents the birth of our Lord from a slightly different perspective.

At midnight, we hear of His coming from the perspective of the angels, who announce His birth to the shepherds in the fields with the hymn, “Glória in excélsis Deo—Glory to God in the highest.”

In the Mass at dawn, we look through the eyes of the shepherds who came to see the Christ Child, and who left Him praising God and announcing His birth to all whom they met.

In the third Mass, St. John's Gospel—the one usually read at the end of Mass—is read as the main Gospel. It is quite appropriate, as we hear of the Word, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, being with God at creation and now becoming one of us; taking human flesh and dwelling amongst us. It was written, by the way, to explain this fundamental aspect of Christianity to intellectuals and philosophers. Greek philosophy already spoke of the creative principle of the universe as the “Word”—the Logos, by Which chaos was made into cosmos.

There is also a fourth Gospel; one that is read as the last Gospel during the third Mass. It speaks of the Magi, those wise and wealthy kings who came to pay tribute to our Lord shortly after His birth.

I mention these various Gospel "perspectives," because the birth of our Lord should be a joyous and holy event for all of us, no matter what our background. It doesn't matter if we are holy and ascetic people, almost like the angels. Or if we are concerned with the cares of the world, as were the shepherds. It doesn't matter if we are wise men or intellectuals like the Greek philosophers. It doesn't matter if we are simple people like the shepherds in the fields. Or if we are wealthy like the Magi, or poor like the Holy Family. The point is that, no matter who or what we are, today Christ is born for us.

If we are man or woman, old or young, married or single, alone or with friends—it makes no difference, for Jesus Christ is born for us personally today. It is a day, as Pope Leo the Great tells us, when it should be unlawful to be sad, for whatever our condition, today we are one “great step” closer to our salvation.[2]

The Son of God, second Person of the Blessed Trinity, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, did not hesitate to become one with His creatures; putting aside the glory of heaven, and exchanging it for a stable, a humble carpenter's shop, and ultimately for the Cross on Calvary. At great price, He came unto His own, and to those who receive Him, He gives the power of becoming God's adopted sons and daughters.

“To as many as received Him….” That is an important phrase, for the Gospel implies that if we don't receive Him—if we are more concerned with the “will of blood,” or the “will of the flesh,” or “the will of man,” we will not receive Him (and He will not receive us), and we will miss out on our divine adoption.

Now, about this time of the year, people are wont to make “resolutions”—little promises to themselves about what they will do to improve themselves in the following year. The best resolution that any of us can make is to resolve to get to know Jesus Christ better during this coming year. And as we have seen, it doesn't matter who we are or what kind of person we are; rich or poor, saint or sinner, smart or simple; it doesn't matter whether we study Him, or do great things in His name, or just keep Him company in prayer; there is something in Jesus for each of us. We too can receive Him according to the will of God.

So, today then, is a day for rejoicing—a day on which no one may be sad—it is the feast of our adoption—for today, Jesus Christ is born!


[1] Luke ii:11

[2] Second nocturne of the Nativity.

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