Thanks-giving at Christmas
Reflections on the readings for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass during the Day (December 25, 2020): IS 52:7-10; PS 98:1,2-3,3-4,5-6; HEB 1:1-6; JN 1:1-18
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Surely none of the long generations anticipating the coming of a Messiah could have imagined this scene. Here was no strong warrior or royal prince or anyone who wielded power in the way our human minds expect.
On Christmas Day, we often hear the words “Thank you!” We happily say that phrase to each other while we open presents, or at the end of a delicious meal, or on a call with a loved one. Let us also take the time to thank God for all He is and all He has given us. The Almighty Lord who made the universe, also made His people. And even when the sinful parents of humankind put themselves before Him, our loving Father never gave up. He sent His Son to enlighten His children and to light up the whole world with the radiant truth of His boundless love. In the Gospel reading for today, St. John says, “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God.… What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.… From His fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:1, 4, 16-17). Jesus first showed His sacred face to a group of poor shepherds who visited the Holy Family on the night of His birth, sent on their way by God’s own angelic messengers. Surely none of the long generations anticipating the coming of a Messiah could have imagined this scene. Here was no strong warrior or royal prince or anyone who wielded power in the way our human minds expect. Instead, they saw a helpless baby in His mother’s lap in a smelly stable in a unimportant village. But here was the Son of God nonetheless.
Let us look forward now from Christmas to Good Friday and, finally Easter. When we celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil, the blessing of the fire starts the sacred ceremonies. And, as the Paschal candle is lighted, the priest says, “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” Let us say that same prayer now. And then let us say to God, “Thank You!”