Christmas – Mass During the Night
Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 (Luke 2:11)
December 25, 2021
Why are we here?
The answer is no secret. If you have been in stores recently, it is obvious that it is Christmas. The stores welcome the shoppers looking for gifts.
We come here to church on Christmas because Christmas is about more than shopping. In our Catholic faith, Christmas is the second most important day of the year. Yes, I said second. The Easter Triduum with the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus is number one.
Christmas is the day when the time for Mary to give birth to Jesus came. Mary and Joseph had gone to Bethlehem for the census. Prophecies had long foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Prophecies like Isaiah who writes, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us, upon his shoulder dominion rests.”
In receiving “dominion” Jesus is to be our king. Yet look at our nativity scene. He was wrapped in “swaddling clothes” and laid in a manger. Hardly what one would expect for an earthly king.
Jesus is indeed our king, but He is not king of an earthly kingdom. “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.” Jesus is king of Heaven. His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom that will end. Jesus’ kingdom will last forever.
At times in this world we walk in darkness but Jesus comes to be a “great light.” In time of “gloom”, Jesus shines as a light for us. With what Jesus offers we can have “abundant joy and great rejoicing.”
Yes, in Jesus, “the grace of God has appeared.” Why did Jesus come?
He came to train “us to reject godless ways and worldly desires.” He helps us understand what God teaches so that we may live in accord with our Father’s will.
Jesus came to give himself to deliver us from our sins. Through his Crucifixion Jesus smashes the yoke that burdens us.
Thus, Jesus brings us “abundant joy and great rejoicing.”
Thus, Christmas is a time of hope.
Our decorations speak of what Jesus offers us. The nativity scene depicts the humble birth of Jesus. Jesus is laying in a manger. A manger is a food trough for animals. Jesus feeds us with the Bread of Life.
For Christmas trees we use evergreen trees to remind us of the everlasting life God offers. The Christmas tree points up to Heaven, reminding us to center our lives on God.
The lights on the trees and the burning of candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world.
Going back to our nativity scene, who are the first to receive the “good news of great joy?”
It is a band of shepherds. Why is it important to know they were shepherds? Shepherds were considered to be of lowly status. Their being the first to receive the “good news of great joy” shows us that the news is meant for everyone.
What was the “good news of great joy” that the angel brought to the shepherds?
The angel said, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”
This is indeed good news. Actually, it is great news. The long-awaited prophecies of a Messiah are fulfilled. God fulfills his promises. We can count on him.
Yes, what we celebrate at Christmas is a wonderful gift to us. Jesus has become one like us in all things but sin. Jesus does this because He loves us.
From what Jesus offers us, we can find peace in times of darkness and gloom.
With grateful hearts, we give “Glory to God in the highest” for “a savior has been born for us who is Christ and Lord.”