Today is a day to rejoice for
For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord (Luke 2:11 – from Mass at Midnight Readings).
Many people celebrate Christmas as a holiday without really knowing and appreciating its origins as Christmas. There was a Roman holiday on December 25th that pre-dates the celebration of Christmas as a Christian celebration but it wasn’t Christmas.
It became Christmas as the Romans became Christian and took on a new meaning, a meaning we still recognize today – the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Whether people celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday or a secular holiday, many of the external signs of the holiday are the same. Both celebrate by decorating, exchanging gifts and parties. The exchanging of gifts is done as an expression of love. For us who celebrate the day as Christians, the expression of love is rooted in the expression of love God shows us by sending His Son to redeem us.
Christmas celebrations often include a meal. Sharing a meal is a sign of fellowship. As Christians, we remember that Jesus frequently shared meals with his disciples. The final meal he celebrated with his disciples was the Last Supper and the first celebration of the Eucharist. Recognizing the importance of the Eucharist, fundamental to our celebration of Christmas as Catholics is Christmas Mass.
At Christmas Mass, depending on the Mass you attend, there are various options for the readings. The readings will include prophecies from Isaiah of the coming messiah and the gospel will speak of the birth of Jesus or his eternal beginning.
The point to be focused on is that today Jesus has come into the world. He did not come in trumpet fanfare and a royal entrance. Rather, he came as one of us, born of a human mother, and has experienced the world as we have. So, we have a God who knows what it is like to be human. We have a God who fulfills his promises to us, and we have a God who loves us so much as to send his only Son to redeem us.
It centers on the birth of Jesus lying in a manger. When we picture the manger scene, we see a little baby and we see the face of God.