Gospel Reflection for Christmas Day Year A – December 25th 2016
Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census – the first – took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn. In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing:
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’
Most homes have a crib of some sort; it is part of our Christmas. It brings the mystery of the birth of Jesus into our homes. Some church cribs have an open front –a sign that all are welcome.
Many people feel unwelcome in the church – people in second and other relationships that cause questions, people who have been through crime or in prison, people in addiction, families who feel the worst for what some have done, people of homosexual orientation, former priests and religious. Like the shepherds at the first crib, all are welcome. The church welcomes all at this time of the year, and indeed always. May we welcome all as God does, with the compassion and love of God.
Christmas reminds us to deal with each other in love and compassion. Someone condemned someone to me recently. I just said ‘God loves him, and I would prefer be with God on this one’. It’s like we take a while to know the full story of Jesus, we take a while to know the full story of everyone.
We pray at the Mass that we may come to share the divinity of Christ who comes to share in our humanity.
Remember those you wish to pray for at Christmas; pray with your breathing – with every out breath simply say a name you wish to remember in prayer.
And maybe pray this Sufi prayer –
Your Light is in all forms, Your Love in all beings.
Allow us to recognise You/in all your holy names and forms.
A very happy Christmas to all our followers on this blog!
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew, Messenger Publications 2016, €9.99
Order online at www.messenger.ie, or in Veritas and other booksellers.