Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I particularly liked this reading (the fourth one) from vigils last night:

From the Sermons of Pope St Leo (the Great)
1st for Christmas.

Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour. Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad today, for today is Life's Birthday – the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free. Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fullness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

Since my friend died last week, I’ve noticed her daughter posting sad memes on Face Book; I can hardly blame her, of course: she’s lost her mother. Others post memes related to their deceased loved one – how much they are missed, especially at Christmas time. My own father died on December 18, 1973, and our mourning certainly tinged our Christmas traditions with sadness.

But it brings me back to my thoughts about the true meaning and significance of Christmas. Christmas is not simply a time to get together with family and share gifts in pretty wrapping paper. Although we miss our loved ones, and maybe particularly so at this time of the year, when we traditionally gather with family and friends in a special way, Christmas can still be a time for joy. It is, after all, the celebration of the birth of Life, as Pope St. Leo the Great reminds us above; and Christmas marks the emergence of our Hope and our Salvation into the world we inhabit. He comes as flesh and blood, as a human being like us, but He speaks Life Eternal!

Christmas morning here: 6 degrees, and fog left everything frosted in white.
So…Merry Christmas. No matter what your circumstances, I pray you find the joy of hope in Our Savior’s birth this year (and always).

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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