The Nativity of the Lord

The Nativity of the Lord    Mass during the Day
Isaiah 52:7-10  +  Hebrews 1:1-6  +  John 1:1-18
December 25, 2016

“And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us….”

It’s telling that the Gospel passage on Christmas morning is repeated just six days later, on December 31.  This Gospel passage speaks to the beginning and end of not just our salvation, but of God’s entire work of creation.

The English author G. K. Chesterton wrote in his book The Everlasting Man that:

“Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether he likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars.  His instincts and imagination can still connect them, when his reason can no longer see the need of the connection; for him there will always be some savour of religion about the mere picture of a mother and baby; some hint of mercy and softening about the mere mention of the dreadful name of God.”

Chesterton was a master of paradox, and through paradox he insightfully explained the depth of the Christian mysteries.  Christmas and Easter are intimately related to each other:  Christ was born for us, so that He might be able to die for us.  Christ rose from the dead so that you and I might find the strength to die.

The great Anglo-American poet T. S. Eliot captured this paradox in his poem titled “The Journey of the Magi”, towards the end of which one of the Three Wise Men asks, many years after the epiphany they witnessed:  “were we led all that way for Birth or Death?  There was a birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt.  I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter Agony for us, like Death, our death.”

May this Christmas Season lead you to the gift of dying to everything in this world.

angelico_madonna_col_bambino_pinacoteca_sabauda