December 25, 2016 – The Nativity of the Lord
Clic her for: The Various Scripture Readings for Christmas Masses
“All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” (Psalm 98)
All throughout Advent we have been hearing hopeful readings from the Book of the Prophet, Isaiah. Today, we hear the final, and perhaps the best part, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings…” It is a reading that should draw us into the picture with the simple question/answer: are WE bringing glad tidings and announcing peace to our world?
The shepherds – who were the first to hear of this wonderful birth – were a class unto themselves and not very well thought of by the better levels of the society of the times. But it was to such as these that the first announcement went out. Remember, the three kings don’t come into the picture until another week!
And, what is it about shepherds that gives them this first place position? I think it might be that they were “earthy” in the sense that they were truly humble. We often have the saying, “God helps those who help themselves” but that’s not at all the case. With the shepherd being the first to witness the birth of Christ we can see that the above verse should really read, “God helps those who have no once else to help them.”
If we are ‘self-made’ and so independent, standing on our own two feet we don’t tend to need anyone to help us and therefore we are not open to the wonder of this baby born in a cave and laid in a manger. Self-made people would rather go to “self-made palaces” if they are looking for a king.
Go back and re-read Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat while at the same time reflecting on Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes. This is what Christmas is all about. “How beautiful are the (bare) feet of those who have no one else to help them but this little baby laying in a manger. “O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”
May you have a joyful Christmas and remember that the Church gives us an “Octave” – 8 days to celebrate Christmas – so don’t be too quick to pack it all away and head out for the “white sales.” We have been given a great gift. Savor it as long as you can. Amen!