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Christmas Day

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!!!

Readings (Mass at Midnight):
Isaiah 9:1-6
Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13 “Today is born our Savior, Christ, the Lord”
Titus 2:11-14
+ Luke 2:1-14

HE’S HERE!!!

The King has come! Let us rejoice!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…
You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing…
For a Child is born to us, a Son is given us;
upon His shoulder dominion rests.
They name Him
Wonder-Counselor,
God-Hero,
Father-Forever,
Prince of Peace
-Isaiah 9:1, 2, 5

I notice that He confirms and sustains His vast, eternally peaceful dominion by justice and judgment; the sacred order we’ve been talking about. “The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this!” (Isaiah 9:6)

All Heaven is bursting at the seams with exaltation. If you’ve ever heard a crowd roar (say, at a touchdown at a close football game), imagine this thunderous cry from a throng of angelic tongues:

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men of good will” (Luke 2:14).

We get to cry out with the angels today. All Advent we’ve been fasting from the beautiful prayer called the Gloria (its easier to notice if you’re in the choir), but today we get to let loose in praise of our Savior, Christ the Lord! We get to join the shepherds too, hurrying to adore the newborn King and then sharing the glad tidings with everyone we meet. More than that, we get a privilege the shepherds couldn’t have even imagined. The Divine Infant will give Himself to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion! (Mary and Mother Church participate in that giving too) He not only comes to us, He comes into us to unite us to Himself in the most intimate way possible! Let this most lovable of all Babies melt your heart. Let Him make it like His own Heart, so open and overflowing with love for each one of His people. Unite yourself to Him and beg Him, “Never let me be parted from You!” Then, when He comes at the end of time (whether it be the end of all time or just the end of your time), you will be ready to meet Him, ready to spend all eternity adoring Him, ready to go Home!

May Emmanuel, God-With-Us, remain close to you; in time and when your time has opened out into eternity!

P.S. I do hope you will continue to celebrate, too, even though I need to bow out for a while. Christmas has only begun, you know, and within the twelve days of Christmas we have lots to celebrate! The first Sunday after Christmas (tomorrow), we celebrate the Holy Family. The next day we honor St. John the Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple. Tuesday we remember the Holy Innocents who were slaughtered when Herod tried to kill the Infant Jesus. Wednesday is set aside in honor of Thomas Becket, an English archbishop murdered in his church for refusing to let King Henry II usurp the rights of the Church. Friday we honor St. Sylvester, pope in the early 300’s, and Saturday is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (which coincides with Jesus’ circumcision). Then we celebrate Epiphany, Christ’s revelation to the Gentiles, the expansion of God’s Covenant to the whole world (actually, the celebration of Epiphany has been moved to the nearest Sunday, so it’s only 8 days away). Even after that, the Christmas season extends for another week (in which we celebrate 5 more saints!), until we celebrate the Jesus’ Baptism (which is Sunday, January 9, this year). Let the party begin!

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