Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 25: Nativity of the Lord Chrismas Year B

December 25: Nativity of the Lord Year B
Readings: (Day) Isaiah 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-18

About two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened. A child was born of the Virgin Mary. That is why at Christmas we joyfully celebrate the Good News announced by the Angel that night: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". We join millions of Christians around the world in celebrating this joyful event of Christ in our midst, the Son of God, who assumes our human flesh, born of the Virgin Mary. When we receive a precious gift, we rejoice because it is a sign that someone loves us. God’s gift of himself to us in the Incarnation is therefore clear evidence of God’s love and goodness for us. During the last 4 weeks of Advent, we have prepared ourselves for Christmas, the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in the first reading of the Midnight Mass. "For there is a child born for us, a son is given to us". That is why at Christmas we rejoice because the salvation promised us is now ful¬filled; our Saviour is born; a Saviour who brings light into the world. "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone”.

The readings for this Mass generally proclaim the “cosmic dimensions” of Jesus’ birth. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of God. In former times, God spoke in varied and partial ways through the prophets; now he has spoken to us clearly by his Son. The gospel is the prologue to John’s Gospel: From all eternity, the Word exists with the Father. All things were made through him, for him, and unto him. Everything that comes to life, lives because of him. The eternal Word of God becomes flesh! He empties himself to become one of us in order to save us! God humbles himself to be born a baby in the obscurity of Bethlehem. Yet this child who is so alone and humble at birth is the Lord of all things. Christ left his external glory to become one of us to save us. In the Gospel, we find a beautiful way of introducing Jesus as the Word, being with God and through whom all things were made. Gradually John introduces us to his theological style of using contrasting pairs: life and death; light and darkness; acceptance and rejection. But my favourite part of the Gospel is just one verse: “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” Jesus comes not only to save us from sin, but also bring us from the abundance of God, grace upon grace. Just imagine a moment when humanity is on the verge of destroying itself. All weather patterns collapse, and the world is in the midst of unheard of drought for months. All food reserves almost exhausted. Suddenly, God hears our prayers, and from his abundance God, sends the so much needed rain. At long last showers descending like a longed for blessing on the dry perched land. Crops begin to grow again. Food reserves not only return to normal, but there is a surplus over and above being send to countries with less. That for me is one concrete way of capturing the image of “grace upon grace”, not in physical terns but in spiritual terms. Humanity was devastated spiritually due to sin, and one day God intervened through the birth of Jesus who would save us from the power of sin. Not only did Jesus Christ take away the sin of the world, but also gave us from his super abundance, grace upon grace, blessings upon blessings through no merit of our own. That is why we celebrate Christmas with such a joy of thankfulness for all that God has done for us in Christ from whose “fullness we have all received grace upon grace” . May this Christmas being us great joy, peace and happiness throughout the New Year. May we open our hearts in order to receive Christ who brings us that grace upon grace into our lives.

25 December: Nativity of the Lord Christmas Year B
Readings: (Day) Isaiah 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
About two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened. A child was born of the Virgin Mary. That is why at Christmas we joyfully celebrate the Good News announced by the Angel that night: "Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". We join millions of Christians around the world in celebrating this joyful event of Christ in our midst, the Son of God, who assumes our human flesh, born of the Virgin Mary. When we receive a precious gift, we rejoice because it is a sign that someone loves us. God’s gift of himself to us in the Incarnation is therefore clear evidence of God’s love and goodness for us. During the last 4 weeks of Advent, we have prepared ourselves for Christmas, the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy in the first reading of the Midnight Mass. "For there is a child born for us, a son is given to us". That is why at Christmas we rejoice because the salvation promised us is now ful¬filled; our Saviour is born; a Saviour who brings light into the world. "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone”.

The readings for this Mass generally proclaim the “cosmic dimensions” of Jesus’ birth. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of God. In former times, God spoke in varied and partial ways through the prophets; now he has spoken to us clearly by his Son. The gospel is the prologue to John’s Gospel: From all eternity, the Word exists with the Father. All things were made through him, for him, and unto him. Everything that comes to life, lives because of him. The eternal Word of God becomes flesh! He empties himself to become one of us in order to save us! God humbles himself to be born a baby in the obscurity of Bethlehem. Yet this child who is so alone and humble at birth is the Lord of all things. Christ left his external glory to become one of us to save us. In the Gospel, we find a beautiful way of introducing Jesus as the Word, being with God and through whom all things were made. Gradually John introduces us to his theological style of using contrasting pairs: life and death; light and darkness; acceptance and rejection. But my favourite part of the Gospel is just one verse: “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” Jesus comes not only to save us from sin, but also bring us from the abundance of God, grace upon grace. Just imagine a moment when humanity is on the verge of destroying itself. All weather patterns collapse, and the world is in the midst of unheard of drought for months. All food reserves almost exhausted. Suddenly, God hears our prayers, and from his abundance God, sends the so much needed rain. At long last showers descending like a longed for blessing on the dry perched land. Crops begin to grow again. Food reserves not only return to normal, but there is a surplus over and above being send to countries with less. That for me is one concrete way of capturing the image of “grace upon grace”, not in physical terns but in spiritual terms. Humanity was devastated spiritually due to sin, and one day God intervened through the birth of Jesus who would save us from the power of sin. Not only did Jesus Christ take away the sin of the world, but also gave us from his super abundance, grace upon grace, blessings upon blessings through no merit of our own. That is why we celebrate Christmas with such a joy of thankfulness for all that God has done for us in Christ from whose “fullness we have all received grace upon grace” . May this Christmas being us great joy, peace and happiness throughout the New Year. May we open our hearts in order to receive Christ who brings us that grace upon grace into our lives.

25 December: Nativity of the Lord Christmas Year B
Readings: (Day) Isaiah 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
About two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened. A child was born of the Virgin Mary. That is why at Christmas we joyfully celebrate the Good News announced by the Angel that night: "Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". We join millions of Christians around the world in celebrating this joyful event of Christ in our midst, the Son of God, who assumes our human flesh, born of the Virgin Mary. When we receive a precious gift, we rejoice because it is a sign that someone loves us. God’s gift of himself to us in the Incarnation is therefore clear evidence of God’s love and goodness for us. During the last 4 weeks of Advent, we have prepared ourselves for Christmas, the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy in the first reading of the Midnight Mass. "For there is a child born for us, a son is given to us". That is why at Christmas we rejoice because the salvation promised us is now ful¬filled; our Saviour is born; a Saviour who brings light into the world. "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone”.

The readings for this Mass generally proclaim the “cosmic dimensions” of Jesus’ birth. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of God. In former times, God spoke in varied and partial ways through the prophets; now he has spoken to us clearly by his Son. The gospel is the prologue to John’s Gospel: From all eternity, the Word exists with the Father. All things were made through him, for him, and unto him. Everything that comes to life, lives because of him. The eternal Word of God becomes flesh! He empties himself to become one of us in order to save us! God humbles himself to be born a baby in the obscurity of Bethlehem. Yet this child who is so alone and humble at birth is the Lord of all things. Christ left his external glory to become one of us to save us. In the Gospel, we find a beautiful way of introducing Jesus as the Word, being with God and through whom all things were made. Gradually John introduces us to his theological style of using contrasting pairs: life and death; light and darkness; acceptance and rejection. But my favourite part of the Gospel is just one verse: “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” Jesus comes not only to save us from sin, but also bring us from the abundance of God, grace upon grace. Just imagine a moment when humanity is on the verge of destroying itself. All weather patterns collapse, and the world is in the midst of unheard of drought for months. All food reserves almost exhausted. Suddenly, God hears our prayers, and from his abundance God, sends the so much needed rain. At long last showers descending like a longed for blessing on the dry perched land. Crops begin to grow again. Food reserves not only return to normal, but there is a surplus over and above being send to countries with less. That for me is one concrete way of capturing the image of “grace upon grace”, not in physical terns but in spiritual terms. Humanity was devastated spiritually due to sin, and one day God intervened through the birth of Jesus who would save us from the power of sin. Not only did Jesus Christ take away the sin of the world, but also gave us from his super abundance, grace upon grace, blessings upon blessings through no merit of our own. That is why we celebrate Christmas with such a joy of thankfulness for all that God has done for us in Christ from whose “fullness we have all received grace upon grace” . May this Christmas being us great joy, peace and happiness throughout the New Year. May we open our hearts in order to receive Christ who brings us that grace upon grace into our lives.

©2008 John M. Mbinda

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