December 25, 2007 Year A
The Nativity of the Lord
Christmas Mass at Midnight
Reflections on the Readings
Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13
Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14
Theme: A Saviour Who is Christ the Lord
And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Once again we visit this Holy Night. For on this Holy Night, in the city of David, which is called Bethlehem a great light has shown. The hopes and fears of all the years converged on that holiest of nights in the city whose name means house of bread.
It is about a 100-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. While this trip today takes 2-3 hours by car, for Mary and Joseph it required 8-10 days by foot and with some animal of burden. Today we travel great distances with very little difficulty. Mary however was great with child and just days from giving birth. Not only did she embark upon this otherwise cumbersome trip, but also did so riding on the back of a donkey or horse.
Their destination was Bethlehem because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. Joseph's family line gave to Jesus the covenantal heritage of King David. And the small Judean village was the hometown of King David and the site of his coronation. (I Samuel 16:1-13) And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel. (Matthew 2:6) It was in this historic place of Jewish history of which it was prophesied 'from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient of days.' (Micah 5:2)
Mary gave birth to our Lord and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. Today as then, there appears to be little room or time for the holy child Jesus. It is a preoccupation of a sort that robs us of his Kingly entrance. Who is this King of Glory born of Mary? He is the Lord, the Lord of hosts strong and mighty. Lift up your heads O Gates! And be lifted up O ancient doors! That the King of glory may come in. (Psalm 24:7-10) It is the promise of a Messiah who is Christ and King and Lord that gives us the meaning of this Christmas night. For the One who occupies the crèche tonight seeks room in our hearts, in our lives.
The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and said, "Be not afraid; for I bring you good news." By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man. This birth is for all of humankind, for the salvation of us all. Once again we remember that in the stillness of Bethlehem's night the Bread of heaven came for the life of the world. May we commune with him this Christmas in the silence and deepest recesses of our souls. We pray that Christ who is born of Mary may descend to us, cast out our sin and enter in and in us be born today, our Lord Emmanuel. (O Little Town of Bethlehem)
For to you is born this day in the city of David a savior; who is Christ the Lord.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, this holy night may my heart as the crèche be filled with you. Enlarge my heart to reflect your love, your forgiveness and your mercy, lest I be selfish and unkind toward my fellowman. With thanksgiving for Mary and Joseph and all the heavenly hosts be born in me again my Lord Emmanuel. Amen.