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Thursday, December 25, 1997

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Christmas (Midnight Mass readings)

Isaiah 9:1-3, 5-6
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14

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keep christmas in christ

"She gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodged." —Luke 2:7

For hundreds of years, the coming of the Messiah had been prophesied. "They name Him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful" (Is 9:5-6). However, when the Messiah finally was born, "there was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him. He was spurned and avoided by men" (Is 53:2-3). "The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers failed to recognize Him, and in condemning Him they fulfilled the words of the prophets which we read sabbath after sabbath" (Acts 13:27). "He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, yet the world did not know Who He was. To His own He came, yet His own did not accept Him" (Jn 1:10-11). Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was already no room for Him in the hearts of many (Lk 2:7).

Jesus, emptied of His glory (Phil 2:7), all too human, the suffering Messiah, continues to be easily rejected. He is so easily rejected that over a billion people can celebrate His birthday without giving Him a present, or even a thought. Will you be among the shepherds who notice Jesus — or even among the wise men who worship Him? Will you be like Mary and Joseph and let the Lord totally disrupt your life — all for the Baby Jesus? Will you put Christ ahead of Christmas? Reject anything in Christmas that is not pleasing to Christ. Accept Christ as Lord and Savior of Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, give me a "Mary" Christmas. May I love Jesus as Mary does.

Promise:  "The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all." —Ti 2:11

Praise:  Christ, our Savior, is born! Christ, our Savior, is born!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997