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Christmas Day

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

Readings (Mass at Midnight):
Isaiah 9:1-6 (the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light)
Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13 “Today is born our Savior, Christ, the Lord”
Titus 2:11-14 (God’s grace trains us to reject godless ways and to practise holy self-control in preparation for Jesus’ Second Coming)
+ Luke 2:1-14 (Jesus is born in Bethlehem & laid in a manger. Angels announce this to shepherds)

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 (it’s 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, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, to us 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! Tomorrow we celebrate St. Stephen, the first martyr. The next day we honor St. John the Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple. Thursday we remember the Holy Innocents who were slaughtered when Herod tried to kill the Infant Jesus. Friday 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. Sunday we celebrate the Holy Family, and of course, January first is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The rest of the week is chock-full of celebrations too: Tuesday, Sts. Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen; Wednesday, The Most Holy Name of Jesus; Thursday, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (one of our own American saints!); Friday, St. John Neuman, and Saturday, Blessed Andrew Bessette. Then we celebrate Epiphany, Christ’s revelation to the Gentiles, the expansion of God’s Covenant to the whole world (actually, because the celebration of Epiphany has been moved to the nearest Sunday, we have an extra day of Christmas this year–13 instead of 12). Even after that, the Christmas season doesn’t conclude until we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism, which is Monday, January 8, this year. Let the party begin!

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