December 25, 2016 – The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

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There are different readings for Christmas based on which Mass you attend: Christmas Vigil, Midnight Mass or Christmas Day. I chose to focus on the readings from Midnight Mass since it is my favorite Mass of Christmas. If you have never attended Midnight Mass, I encourage you to go at least once. The stillness and darkness of the night is palpable. The drive home afterward seeing the Christmas lights on the houses, no one else on the road, all the stores closed and people sound asleep is one of the most peaceful experiences of life. Why is it so powerful?

For it was a night just like this that God chose to send us the Savior; Emmanuel, God-with-us, born with such little fanfare and with such great humility that it can overwhelm us. In the stillness and the coolness, in the darkness and the mess, He was born! And no one knew except a teen-age mother, her simple, holy husband and a rag-tag band of uneducated shepherds working the midnight shift in some random field outside Bethlehem. I imagine that you and I would have done things so much differently if we were God. But I guess that’s why we needed a Savior in the first place.

Jesus came to us this way because he wants us to know that He is approachable. He is accessible. He is Love. Who is threatened by a baby? Due to our sin, we have developed such a distorted image of God. And God continues to do everything He can to change that image and win back our hearts. He is constantly using things, people and circumstances that we do not expect, in order to show us His love and tenderness.

The story of Christmas is a miracle story. Not just because God became Man, but because God took the unexpected and turned our world upside down: a teen-age girl, dreams, shepherds, a star, a stable, three foreigners bearing gifts, an overpopulated city and even a decree made by a godless dictator to people living in an occupied land. What is God using in your life right now to convince you He is real? To convince you He is Love? To convince you He is everything you need?

This Christmas, as we look upon the Baby Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, so helpless, so vulnerable…so accessible, let us come to realize that it is not He who needs us, but we that need Him.

May God bless you and your family and may you have a Merry Christmas!

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