Rejoicing in the very first meeting with Jesus Christ, the Son of God
Reflections on the readings for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – at the Vigil Mass (December 24, 2020): IS 62:1-5; PS 89:4-5,16-17,27,29; ACTS 13:16-17,22-25; MT 1:1-25
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Jesus came to save us from sin and death – to save us for Himself for all eternity. And, in the prophetic title Emmanuel, we learn that Jesus, the Messiah, will be with us forever. We will never be without the presence of our Savior and Lord.
On this Christmas Eve, we gather together to begin our celebration of the birth of Jesus. Some of us are present with one another physically, others through various forms of media. But we all are still joined with one another the way we have always been – through our hearts and spirits. And so, we think once again of the wonderful account of the first Christmas in the Gospels. And we recall the Angel Gabriel’s astonishing Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well the anguish of St. Joseph who wanted to protect her and yet, as a righteous man, to fulfill the law. Then the angel of the Lord came to Joseph as he slept, telling him not to be afraid. Almighty God is was working through Mary, and he, too, had been chosen to accept his part in the fulfillment of the Divine plan. “She will bear a Son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:21-23).
So, along with Joseph, we hear that the Son of God and of Mary will be known as Jesus which means that God saves. And, from the words of the prophet Isaiah, we learn that Emmanuel means God is with us. Jesus came to save us from sin and death – to save us for Himself for all eternity. And, in the prophetic title Emmanuel, we learn that Jesus, the Messiah, will be with us forever. We will never be without the presence of our Savior and Lord. Indeed, St. Matthew emphasizes this in the very last verse of the last chapter of his Gospel. Just before the Risen Christ ascends to His Father, He assures the disciples that He will be with us until the end of the world. God has indeed saved us and He remains with us. Now and forever. This is the essential meaning – and immeasurable joy – of the Nativity of the Lord. Merry Christmas!