The Nativity of the Lord

“She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Today we celebrate that the prophetic dream of St. Joseph was fulfilled! Jesus is born! A Savior has come to deliver us–Emmanuel, “God is with us.” Christmas is a feast of fulfillment, a holiday of deep and enduring happiness not only because God became man and was born of a woman, but because along with his Incarnation, God brought us freedom. Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who sets us free from the misery of our own sins. This is the ultimate gift of Christmas Day.

We exchange gifts today as a sign of our love for one another to be sure, but also as a concrete, visible way to celebrate the gift that we have first received from God. We are free people! We are not slaves but rather the children of God whose priceless inheritance is to dwell in his kingdom for all eternity. On this most festive day of the year, we are invited to exult in this fact and spare little effort or expense to show our gratitude and joy.

We only must be careful not to reduce our celebrating today to something less glorious, something less meaningful, or less profound. This is no mere secular holiday. This is not just a ritual of family gatherings, elaborate evergreen trees and sumptuous meals. Christmas is a holy day and as Christians it is our day in a most definite and undeniable way. The treats and trimmings are all signs that remind us of what lies ahead for those who accept the real gift of Jesus Christ: an unending banquet of eternal delights and divine gifts that will never fail to satisfy. Yes, Christmas is a little taste of heaven, the perfect gift that lies in wait for those who love the Lord.

from Liturgical Publications Inc