“Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about...”
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 “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
We may have to remind ourselves what lies at the heart honoring our Redeemer, born so long ago and so far away.
Catholics and our fellow Christians around the world join this night in thanking Almighty God for the birth of His Son. We rejoice in the loveliness of Christmas and all it means to us. We have been thinking about this day all through Advent. And, while we have tried to focus on the wonder of the great Christmas story, we have probably been distracted some of the time. We may have to remind ourselves what lies at the heart honoring our Redeemer, born so long ago and so far away. Many elements of our celebrations are delightful expressions of our traditions and we should continue to do our best to build precious memories with loved ones. Yet, this year, just like every year for two millennia, we need to focus on Jesus Himself. He is the source of our hope and faith. He is the beloved Son of God and of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the longed-for Messiah who did everything His Father asked of Him. It is because we know about His life and death, about what He did and who He was – and is – that we rejoice each Christmas. We love to hear about the Holy Infant born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for His family in their ancestral town. We love to think about the heavenly angels and humble shepherds who welcomed Him into the world.
Most of all, we love to ponder the gift He offered us that day. He gave us the promise of freedom from the ugly consequences of sin and the dread finality of death. The love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has brought us to this moment of sublime joy. Among our beautiful Christmas customs are the carols we sing each year at this time. Let us think about the words of many songs that are not merely comforting, but quite profound. “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see they lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Suggested missionary action: Let us venerate the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, by helping neighbors who are sick, poor or otherwise in need of our compassionate attention. We can show our appreciation for the wonderful gift of Christ’s birth through kindness and generosity to neighbor near and far.
Add #justonemore to your gift-giving list this Christmas with MISSIO.