December 25, 2017 – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

 The following “link” has all the options for the: Various Masses of Christmas

 “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of Grace and truth.” (today’s Gospel according to John.)

This familiar quote from today’s Gospel might also be translated like the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.” And it’s not difficult to see the reality of this in our world today – from tyrannical dictators down to the local politicians. It’s easy for them to promise us the world during their campaigning and then to forget what they said on their way to the bank after they’ve feathered their own nests. Words without flesh – words with no meat on them – fade quickly and have no meaning.

Jesus, our Word made flesh, didn’t come in a bang of excitement but was born in the quiet, stillness of a winter’s night. No brass bands. No packed stadiums of banner-waving supporters. Only a chorus of angels and a few lowly shepherds.

St.Paul tells us to “clothe yourselves in Christ Jesus” (Romans 13:14) which means more than just putting on a T-shirt with the words, “I [heart] Jesus!” Today’s Feast, which often begins for many of us at a Mid-night Mass or a Mass at the crack of dawn forces us to focus on Jesus without distractions of surrounding things. I think that it’s no accident that the Church has set this Christmas Celebration right around the darkest day of the year in order to help us see the Light of Christ more easily.

My method of writing these Scratch Pad Reflections is to do it early in the morning – when it is still and quiet and there are no distractions. I sit in our darkened chapel with just the light of one candle – and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament – and listen to what the Lord is saying to me. I read over the Scriptures appointed for the days’ liturgy and then try to put some flesh on them. This is what all of us need to do. It has to be more than just wordy, wordy, wordy.

When I hear the words from today’s Gospel, “… to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, …Emmanuel – God is with us.”

A good exercise for us is to do – again in some quiet, still place – is to ask ourselves, “What do I hear God saying to me?” Right now I try to put myself inside that Bethlehem stable or cave and listen to what Jesus wants to say to me. Even in the darkness of that place there is nothing hidden from Him and I can listen and I can let flesh be put on the words I hear.

I think that’s all I want to say today with the exception of wishing that our celebration of the Birth of our Savior might become more real to you and you will know that He will never leave you alone.A Blessed Christmas to you and may the coming New Year be a year of Peace for you as you struggle to bring that Peace into your part of the world. Amen.

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