Christmas Mass During the Night
Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 (Luke 2:11)
December 25, 2020
Today we hear “good news of great joy.” After a difficult 2020, we need to hear some good news.
The good news offered by the angel is “For today, in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”
The original “today” was 2,000 years ago. It is still good news today. Jesus Christ has been born. We are drawn to our Christmas celebration with the image of Jesus laying in a manger.
Seeing Jesus as a little baby gives us hope. People tend to get “warm and fuzzy” at the birth of any child. We see it as something new and innocent. The birth of a child gives us hope for the future.
Jesus’ birth gives us even more hope. Jesus’ birth fulfills Old Testament prophecies like Micah 5:1-2 where we hear that Bethlehem is to be the birthplace for the messiah.
The fact that Joseph is from the “house and family of David” fulfills God’s promise to King David that an heir will come as the Messiah.
We can count on God to fulfill his promises to us. Thus, we have hope.
Luke says, “the time came for her to have her child.” In human terms, Mary’s pregnancy is coming to an end. In terms of God’s plan, this is the long-awaited hour for Jesus to come as the new king.
Yet, while Jesus is king, he is not born in a palace. He was born in stable and laid in a manger. A manger is no place for a baby. A manger is a place where the food of the animals is placed for them to eat.
Jesus is not food for animals like hay or grain but Jesus is food for our soul. We receive Jesus as spiritual nourishment in the Eucharist as the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the spiritual nourishment we receive in the Eucharist, we are strengthened to face the world. This is good news.
Who were the first to hear the “good news of great joy”? Jesus is the Messiah but it was not the religious leaders who were the first to hear the news. Jesus is king but princes were not the first to her the “good news.”
No, it was ordinary shepherds. This is to show that Jesus comes for everyone. Thus, we have hope.
Jesus brings “great light” to the “darkness.” We may feel like we live in a “land of gloom” but Jesus brings light to it. Jesus brings “abundant joy and great rejoicing” to his people.
Jesus does this in being born just like us.
However, the light Jesus brings is far more than just looking at him as a baby. Jesus comes to smash the yoke that burdens us, the yoke of sin.
Paul writes to Titus speaking of what Jesus does:
- He comes to save all.
- He comes to train “us to reject godless ways and worldly desires.”
- He comes to help us “live temperately, justly, and devoutly.”
- He gives himself “to deliver us from all lawlessness.”
Jesus delivers us by freely giving his life on the Cross for our sins. He rises to lead us to the resurrection.
What Jesus gives, the world cannot give. How much time do we spend looking for lasting happiness in worldly things, only to desire something more? We are created to know God and to be loved by God. Only God can fulfill us. Jesus comes to save us.
When we look at a nativity scene, we see a stable. We see animals and the straw for their bedding. We see Joseph who will raise Jesus as his son. We see Mary who, when the angel Gabriel told her she had chosen to carry Jesus in her womb, replied, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.”
We thank Mary for her “yes.”
All we see in the nativity scene is good but the greatest thing we see is at the center of the nativity scene, Jesus.
When we see baby Jesus, we are filled with “abundant joy” not just at seeing a baby. That alone gives joy but seeing baby Jesus gives us great hope because we know He loves us and we know all that He does for us.
Today we rejoice, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” Today we rejoice at what God has done.
May we be transformed by what we celebrate today to live everyday loving God and loving our neighbor.
Father, thy will be done.