I love today’s scripture readings from the Mass at Dawn. They are all about the gift of Christ. Isaiah proclaims, “your savior comes” The psalm response is, “A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.” Paul tells Titus (and us), “He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, which he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior.” And in Luke, we hear the story of the shepherds finding Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
What beautiful images. I love Paul’s words, the bath of rebirth. When I take Communion, I have an image of myself, sweaty, dirty and filthy, kneeling before Christ, and Christ pouring a bucket of cool water over me. Washing my sins away. Cleansing and renewing.
Christmas day. What a wonderful day. What a gift it is. I guess I’m an old-fashioned traditionalist because I never tire of the Christmas story. It’s a beautiful story of faith, hope and God’s love for us. And now here we are. Christmas morning. Our opportunity to follow Mary’s example. To reflect in our heart on the gift of Christ. To clear the deck and put Christ in the front of the boat.
But not everyone loves Christmas. My oldest son does not like Christmas. While this upsets me, I honestly understand. He sees Christmas as a greedy festival of frantic consumerism. How do we counteract that? How do we present what Christmas is really about? Well, Christmas day is our golden opportunity. It is our chance, as followers of Christ, to push back against the cynicism. To let Christ’s light shine through us. To tell the story of God’s gift to us. A baby, born into a broken world. Born to be the Savior of the world.
2000 years ago, the angels knew, the shepherds knew, Mary knew. But the rest of the world? How could they believe that a newborn, so small, so weak, so meek, so mild, was the Savior. And yet, here I sit, 2000 years later, on Christmas morning, reflecting on God’s perfect gift.
Even as I say that, I want the Christmas story to be simple to present to others, but it’s not. I guess because it’s part of God’s plan. And I always seem to find God’s plan perplexing and confusing. If I were going to send a savior into a broken world, I’d be sending a general or an expert in mass communication, not a baby. Sometimes I think I make it too complex. All I really need to do is point to Christ. And when I think of the hope for the future of the world, I usually think of a baby’s face. This is my granddaughter’s first Christmas. Annie will be 2 months old this Christmas. She watches and coos and smiles. I need to be more like Annie. Annie doesn’t get caught up in the hectic rush of the season. And Mary didn’t miss the real gift. We have to be more like Mary and simply stop and reflect.
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