December 25: Nativity of the Lord Christmas Year C (Day Time)
Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
The readings for this Mass generally proclaim the “cosmic dimensions” of Jesus’ birth. The First reading has a missionary tone of cosmic proportions. “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation;” encouraging the people to rejoice, because all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. Similarly, Psalm 98 a cosmic tone: “all the ends of the earth will see the salving power of God.” The second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the former times when “God spoke in partial ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.” The gospel is the prologue of John’s Gospel Chapter 1: 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! In other words, God humbles himself to be born as 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 leaves his external glory to become one of us in order to save us. In the Gospel therefore, we find a beautiful way of introducing Jesus as the Word, being with God and through whom all things (the cosmos) 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 favorite 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 to bring us from the superabundance 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, something similar to what is depicted in the movie 2013. 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 or with nothing. 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; it was on the verge of destroying itself due to sinful perversion, 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 the doors of our hearts in order to receive Christ who brings us that grace upon grace into our lives.
©2009 John S Mbinda