Monday, December 25, 2017

December 24 - Christmas

Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord (Christmas Eve)
December 25, 2014

I – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing!

R –Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. 

II – The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.

A – I proclaim to you good news of great joy: today a Savior is born for us.

G - While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn… And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host… praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

The greatest message of Christmas is that heaven and earth have united in producing a Savior for depraved and fallen humankind. The offense must have been immense - that original sin - if the remedy had to be this spectacular. And spectacular it is! Beyond imagining! Beyond the belief of many – even still!: God becomes a man in order to save men (and women) from the situation that we had gotten ourselves into by an enormous lack of trust and an act of blatant, unmitigated disobedience!

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

From time immemorial men and women had been living a double-life! A life caught in the chaos of original disordering! Everything that had been “ordered” - created to operate in a specific and certain way - was now, inescapably “disordered.” – bent, and broken. And there was no way out - at least, not that man could produce himself! Since “the order” was created by God, and “lack of trust in God keeping his promises, and disobedience” was caused by man - only a supreme act of trust and obedience by one who was both like and unlike us could save us! The God-Man Jesus Christ was the only one qualified to do this! And he did it freely, voluntarily, out of love for us!

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

And he was born into this world - of a virgin - to show that this entire process is extraordinary, yet very real! He was born poor - to show the reality of his majesty, the immensity of his power, the depth of his mercy! For if the all-powerful one, the all-mighty one, the all-merciful one could be contained in a tiny, crying baby boy - then he could do anything at all! Jesus identified himself with the poor, the unwanted, the homeless, the disrespected, the neglected, the shunned, the hungry, the naked and the imprisoned from the moment of his birth - when he was turned away from the inn!

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

And yet, his birth was celebrated by the animals in the manger, and the shepherds on the hillsides, and the heavenly choir of angels who sang out his praises: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests! - peace to the lowly and the humble and those who embrace a life of poverty!”

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

The only appropriate response that we could possibly make this Christmas Day is to promise with all of our minds and hearts to take the spiritual empowerment that we receive from the God who also was big enough, and loving enough, and merciful enough to transform himself into ordinary bread and wine for us and for our salvation: and translate it into direct, conscious, deliberate, consistent and lasting care for all of God’s poor - which includes EVERYONE - we are all poor in the sight of God - but especially those who are visibly living a life of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual poverty - whether by choice or not!

WE OWE IT TO JESUS and HIS FATHER and the HOLY SPIRIT to use the gift of Christmas this way! We will be held accountable one day when the only question that Jesus, come as Judge will ask us is this: DID YOU LOVE AND CARE FOR THE POOR? DID YOU LOVE AND CARE FOR ME - WHO WAS BORN IN A MANGER BECAUSE NO ONE CARED TO GIVE ME WELCOME ANY OTHER PLACE?

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord!

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