As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas in couple of hours, I invite you to ponder the Gospel passage that is read at the Midnight Mass and so beautifully announces to us the Nativity of our Saviour:
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration
and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee
to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem,
because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2, 1-7
“The reading from Luke at the Midnight Mass is sublime, yet popular. Even the 1965 Peanuts Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, features this gospel passage, read by the character Linus. The master storyteller Luke enraptures us with the story of Jesus’ birth. The simple clause “because there was no room for them at the inn” has inspired innumerable artists, homilists, theologians, and more. But Luke says no more about that episode than those few simple words. He says much more about the shepherds, the angel, and the multitude of the heavenly host. The few verses of this gospel reading light up our imagination, touching on key themes for Luke, such as Jesus as Savior, Jesus as food for the world (laid him in a manger), and the situation of the Christ-event at a particular time and place (with mention of Quirinius and the town of Bethlehem). How appropriate that we read this story of the shepherds keeping the night watch at our Midnight Mass.
Midnight by definition is a time of darkness, the middle of the night. And yet, it is during this time that light enters the world by the birth of the Christ, the Savior. Such a stark contrast is not by accident in the Gospel of Luke or in our liturgy tonight. We recall how God brings life from death, joy from sadness, and light from darkness. When we face moments of darkness in our own lives, let us recall the Christian faith that is at our core, that sees the birth of a child during the night watch as a profound moment of grace.” (Living Liturgy 2020)
For most of us the celebration of Christmas will be much different this year then ever before. In my own lifetime I can recall only one Christmas when I wasn’t able to participate with the faith community in the celebration of the Christmas Mass because I was in the air force, and on guard duty that night. It is certain that many of us will feel that something is missing from the celebration of the great mystery of our faith, that we are prevented from receiving the One who became one of us so that we can become like Him. I assure you that Fr. Claude and I will remember all of you in the celebration of the Christmas Masses, praying that we can soon be reunited at the celebration of Mass, the center of our Christian faith.
On behalf of our parish staff, youth minister, three deacons, and Fr. Claude, I wish you great joy in your celebration of Christmas. May the One who was born into the simplest of settings be for all of us a great source of deep faith, unbroken hope and charity. May Christ be born in our hearts again and again, and His love transform us and fill us with peace.
Please join us in the celebration of Christmas Masses on our YouTube channel. The Christmas Eve Mass will be livestreamed on December 24th at 8pm and Christmas Day Mass will be livestreamed on December 25th at 10am.
Also, our youth have created a video version of the annual Christmas pageant! We hope you’ll have a chance to watch it and enter into the Nativity story through Scripture, photos, and music with this year’s participants. It premieres tomorrow at 12:00pm on the parish YouTube channel at this link: https://youtu.be/Hx2wc3l0yvY
God bless and Merry Christmas!