The Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord
1 John 2:3-11 + Luke 2:22-35
December 29, 2015
“Whoever loves his brother remains in the light….”
The old Christmas hymn asks, “What child is this?” Many Scripture passages about the nativity and early life of Jesus deal with the question of His identity. The gifts of the Magi represent the one before whom they prostrate themselves. When Mary and Joseph are confused at finding the child Jesus in the Temple, He drives home the point that He is the Son of God who belongs in His Father’s House.
Throughout the Christmas Season, the Sacred Liturgy turns to St. John the Beloved Disciple for an answer to that hymn’s question. Throughout his Gospel account, and even more so in his epistles, the Beloved Disciple teaches us that “God is love.”
In today’s First Reading from the First Letter of Saint John, the Beloved Disciple responds to the question of “How do we know Jesus?”, a variation on “What child is this?” John’s response is that “the way [to] know Jesus is to keep His commandments.” This might seem an odd answer: how would one’s commandments tell us about the commander’s identity? If we were to reflect further on this question, we might realize how one generally commands about matters only of importance to oneself. In the case of God, His commands are commands to live in Him: to live in love, or rather, simply to love.