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Doctrines & Morals

Unto us a Child is born, a Child is given

Ish 52:7-10, Heb. 1:1-6, Jn 1:1-18. At the end of the four weeks of Advent, we have finally reached the day of Christmas when we celebrate the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. It has become a tradition to associate snow with Christmas and when it does come, shrouding everything with its white mantle, a stillness settles over the land, especially at night-time. That combination of darkness and stillness was the setting for the first Christmas. As the Book of Wisdom states: “When all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the middle of her course, your almighty Word leaped down from heaven, from your royal throne” (Wis. 18:14). Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was with God before all ages. His birth opens for us a new identity as God’s children. Today's first reading presents us with a prophecy describing the joy of the faithful watchmen, when they see the Lord, their Saviour face to face. The whole world will see the saving work of God. The second reading helps us to understand that the son born of Mary is the eternal Son of the Father, the image of the invisible God and the one through whom all things were made. The opening words of today’s Gospel describes in sublime terms the eternal nature of the Word who in His incarnation became the source of light and life for all men.

For the people of the Old Testament, light and darkness were more than natural phenomena. They tended to associate them often with virtue and wickedness in the community, also with the day of the Lord’s coming. During the life-time of Jesus, light and darkness were seen as two opposing kingdoms and the sun’s victory over darkness was held to be a symbol of the triumph of faith over the blind pursuit of evil. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, "Let there be light, and there was light.” So begins the Bible account of the first creation and when it was ended, “God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.” When the original goodness and justice was to be shattered, because our first parents abused the freedom of will granted them by God, so that once again, as the prophet Isaiah says “darkness came to cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples” (Ish 60:2). To dispel this darkness, a new creation is required and the ideal of goodness and perfection became a living reality, when the light of Christ came into the world: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; for those who lived in a land of deep shadow a light has shone” (Ish 9:2). For God, who had created man in His own image and likeness, had now identified with the human race and by assuming the body of a child in the image of man, had lowered himself and become one of us. We must listen in the stillness of our hearts, and, like the shepherds, we must hasten, and with eagerness draw near to Christ. “And the shepherds came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.” They “found” implies effort on their part; they had to search, for their search was not in vain. We must also search for Christ, hasten to Him with eagerness and in the quiet times of prayer, when we are alone with God, understanding of our need for Christ will come to us.

May the Lord dispel the darkness of our world, so that we can be inspired by hope as we gaze into that great light and share its peace with others! Amen!! Good morning and Merry Christmas!!!

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