Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve: A Child Is Born Unto Us

Today is Christmas Eve. We commemorate the birth of the Lord, We had the Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent this morning and have the Vigil Mass and Midnight Mass as well. I will offer brief reflections for each in this post. I understand this is a busy time both at your parish and home.


The first reading tells us the excitement that is present. We will not be silent. The Lord has chosen us as His people.  He comes as a  bridegroom ready to meet His bride. This reading is referring to Christ who is coming to His people to bring redemption and salvation. God has not forgotten His people. He has promised to send a savior, His own Son.  We respond to this reading by singing about the goodness of the Lord. God has not forgotten us. He made a covenant and has kept it. On David, He set up a kingdom which Christ would be heir to. God is our rock, our father, and our savior. He is always there for us.

The second reading reminds us that God chose the Jews first. He made a covenant with the Hebrews of Israel. God set up His kingdom on David. Christ would stem from David's lineage and will rule both the tribes of Israel and the flock of sheep from all over the world, the Catholic or Universal Church. Christ is the center and link to it all. He links both the old and new. He is the center of both. This is why in the Gospel for the vigil we read of the lineage that links Christ to David. The Gospel of Matthew was written for a Jewish audience. Its wording and references are meant to help the Jewish people understand who Jesus is and why He is the Messiah they have been waiting for.


We the people have been walking in the darkness. However, we now see a bright light. Tihs light is Christ the Lord. God has not forgotten His people. He has not forgotten the human race. He has sent HIs only begotten son to be Wonder-Counselor who helps us, God-Hero who protects us, Father-Forever who loves us and Prince of Peace who bring serenity to our minds and hearts. We respond to this reading the Psalm saying Today is born our Savior.  We sing to God and we rejoice. God has come to us. He became one of us. Our savior has been born, Christ the Lord! Our joy must not be contained. We must celebrate!  God has appeared to us. The second reading reminds us of this. The grace of God has truly appeared! This grace brings salvation and teaches us to reject all falsehoods that the world offers. It teaches us to live holy lives and reject sin.  Christ came to us to make us a part of Himself. He delivers us from the chains of sin and lawlessness.

The Gospel tells us the story of what happened. We are introduced to Joseph and Mary who are about to witness the most important history ever. They are to give witness to the birth of the Savior Christ the Lord. Mary was with child, the Holy Child. Joseph cared for them as a father and husband should care for his family. Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in a manger. There was no room for Him anywhere else.  Christ showed His humility. To imagine that the creator would come in poverty is a reflection of itself. This is why we can see that this story is not just any story or myth. Myths are embellished, historical events are not. Other myths that atheists love to cite in their claims that Christ is an amalgamation of other gods present their gods as all-powerful. These gods are born rich and powerful. They have honor and glory.  The story of Christ is way different. God is not born rich and powerful. There is no mansion or expensive castle where He is born at. Christ is born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. This tells us that this story really happened. It is not a myth. A myth pays close attention to details and embellishes the narrative. The Gospel of Luke does not do this. It keeps it real, so to speak. The God we read about here is unlike the gods of Pagans and other faiths. This God is humble and prefers to be poor. He contradicts the idea Pagans and others had of the divine. This is because He is the one and only true God. 

The Gospel continues to tell us of how the shepherds saw the angel of the Lord singing Glory to God. The angel told them not to fear. We must never fear God. We must respect Him but never fear Him as if God were some dictator. God is love. Midnight Mass is an awesome event. It is one that spoke to me loudly as an atheist years ago. I remember my first Midnight Mass. It was surreal. I could close my eyes and picture the Christmas scene in my head as the readings were read. This is for real. It spoke to me deeply. To think that God would become a baby boy born in poverty is mind-boggling. On this night, atheism was destroyed, Empirical evidence for God became flesh and walked among us. God became one of us in all things except sin!  I invite you to take time to meditate on this. God, the creator of the cosmos became a little baby boy. God became one of us opening Himself to feeling all things we do; experiencing everything we do. This speaks volumes about how awesome and loving God is.  A child is born unto us, Christ the Lord!


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