December 25: Mass at Midnight Year C
Readings: Isaiah 9:1-6 Titus 2:11-14 Luke 2:1-14
More than 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 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 Savior is born; a Savior 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 tonight lead us into great joy and gratitude before the mystery of the child who is born. On that first Christmas at Bethlehem, a great light shone in the darkness. Christ our Savior was born of Mary and laid in a manger, "because there was no room for them in the inn". The birth of Christ takes place in poor surroundings in order to attract the attention of the shepherds. Through Christ God's grace is revealed to the poor. By his birth in this world of darkness and confusion, the God who became man shows us his will to assume in himself the entire humanity to raise it up and integrate it into God’s loving plan of salvation. Today’s Gospel very carefully sets the tone both for the personal lifestyle of Jesus and of the purpose for which he has come, to share his peace, love and joy. Like the shepherds who went with haste and shared the good news, we as Christians are also called to go with haste and share the good news. As Christians, we are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, as a right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the Divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is even more pressing when it is only through us as individual persons that some may hear the Gospel and know Christ. What message do we take home? 1) We are invited to go along with the shepherds to Bethlehem and see what has happened there according to message of the Angel, who brings news of great joy. "Today a Savior has been born" to us. 2) We are invited to meditate with Mary and Joseph on the mystery of God’s presence, and to express our joy in the words of the Angel: "Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace to people who enjoy his favor". 3) May this Christmas bring you great joy, peace and happiness during the coming week and throughout the New Year.
©2009 John Mbinda