John 1:1- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Today we celebrate the arrival of the King of kings!
During Advent we experienced the ancient prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. We were reminded that God’s plan of salvation was at work long before he came to earth as Man. Now we rejoice with the angels!
How do we, the Church, celebrate the move from waiting and preparing, to the arrival of the Babe in a manger? Mass is offered four different times to usher in the Redeemer.
On Christmas Eve we can sit Vigil where we look back in order to see what is now present. St. Matthew reveals God’s faithfulness to himself – his words and actions – and to us, as he records the genealogy of Jesus.
At Midnight, Isaiah tells us that what God’s people are longing for shall be: out of the darkness a great Light will shine, for unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given and the government of God shall be on his shoulder.” Who is this Child? “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!” St. Luke takes us on the last leg of the journey out of gloom. It is the path to Bethlehem when Caesar Augustus calls for a census of the people. And in that over-crowded and noisy village, quietly in a shelter for animals, the Virgin gives birth to a Son. The angel of the Lord breaks through the dark night and proclaims to the shepherds who protect their sheep nearby, “For to you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Suddenly the messenger is joined by countless numbers of angels who light up the sky and sing glory to God in the highest. Gone is the dark and gloom of past, present and, potentially, the future.
We can awake early to break the night at Dawn Mass with our newborn King. Isaiah calls out, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him and his recompense before him. And they shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.” The psalmist sings, “The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.” And St. Luke wraps up the celebration of the Word with the action of the shepherds – the lowliest of all people – who rush to see the good news they have heard. They find him in a feeding trough, a manger. They glorify God as dawn breaks the darkness.
Mass readings on Christmas Day record the foretelling of what this manger scene is for us. From the prophet Isaiah and the letter to the Hebrews we hear that all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God, for when God brought his first born into the world, all the angels worshipped him. Why did the angels worship him? Because to no angel did God say, “You are my son.” St. John goes on to remind us that this Child was the Word in the beginning who was with God and who was God. All things were created through him; in him was life and the life was the Light of men.
The life of this baby is the Light of all mankind? Light that will never be overcome by darkness? Consider how huge that is! It breaks my heart to hear so often at the close of Christmas Day, sighs like, “Finally, it’s over.” Or, “Now I can get back to my normal routines.” Or even, “Is that all there is?”
The reality is, no, that is not all there is.
This Baby whose birth we celebrate comes with both a message and a plan for each of us. The message is of our salvation. And we thank him! The step after greeting him on Christmas Morn is, like the shepherds on that first night, to rush to worship him and then run off to tell what we have seen. Now is the time for us to walk in the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of this Prophet, Priest, and King of kings. At our baptism, his Light gives us true life. It is that Light that shines the way before us, and that we desire the world to see in us. Now is the time to discover what life with the Light of God within is and how he wants us to go forth. Now it is time for us to change the world as we tell of God’s wonderful plan for everyone created in his image and likeness.
Let us rejoice with the angels, not only today, but each day forward. Love was born on Christmas Day!