The simple yet profound mystery of the Incarnation is this: The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Scripture scholars tell us that this phrase in John's Gospel literally translates as "pitched his tent" with his people. Like God's presence in the Ark of the Covenant, as the Chosen People traveled through the desert, so now God would come to earth as a vulnerable but graced infant, getting the same start in life that each and every one of us has. Our God wants to be with us wherever we are. No dwelling is too lowly, no circumstances too humble. St. Francis recognized this when he created the first live nativity scene at Greccio: a cave, some animals, a deep faith in God's promise.
And tradition tells us that he held the baby in his arms during the Mass. We probably celebrate hospitality more at Christmas than we do at any other time of the year. We host parties, we attend parties, we revel in food and drink and presents. We also open not only our hearts but our wallets to those in need. It's a blessing to be able to do this. Maybe this is the year that we decide to carry this spirit of hospitality forward into the rest of the year, to become God's sentinels of hope. God comes into our lives, into our homes, into our world every day in many different disguises. Pope Francis reminds us that Christmas calls us to be on the lookout for this manifestation of the divine. And if God wants to dwell with us, we better be willing to open our doors to him.
—from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent by Diane M. Houdek
†Saint Quote "If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus ... for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib. Here the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped not in swaddling clothes but in the rays of the Holy Spirit." — St. John Chrysostom † MEDITATION OF THE DAY† "'And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased' (Lk 2:12-14). According to the evangelist, the angels 'said' this. But Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song, in which all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim becomes tangibly present. And so, from that moment, the angels' song of praise has never gone silent. It continues down the centuries in constantly new forms and it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus' birth. It is only natural that simple believers would then hear the shepherds singing too, and to this day they join in their caroling on the Holy Night, proclaiming in song the great joy that, from then until the end of time, is bestowed on all people." — Pope Benedict XVI, p. 73-4 AN EXCERPT FROM Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives
TODAY'S FEAST DAY
CHRISTMAS⛪ December 25th is the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the greatest Christian holy day after Easter. "Christ Mass" is the Eucharistic feast celebrating the birth of Christ, the Incarnation of Second Person of the Holy Trinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who came to suffer and die on a cross to save us from our sins. Three Masses are celebrated at Christmas: Midnight Mass, or "The Angel's Mass"; Mass at Dawn, or "The Shepherd's Mass; and Mass during the Day, or "The King's Mass." The octave of Christmas lasts from December 25th until January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. In the current Roman Catholic calendar the Christmas season continues until the feast of Jesus' baptism on the Sunday following Epiphany; on the ancient liturgical calendar Christmastide continues until Candlemas, or the Presentation of Jesus on February 2nd. Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation.
†VERSE OF THE DAY "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.""
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St. Anastasia (c. 281-314 A.D.) was a Roman citizen of the noble class, born to a wealthy pagan father and a Christian mother. She was secretly baptized due to her mother's desire to raise her as a Christian. Anastasia married a Roman pagan of her class, and, when he discovered that she was a practicing Christian, he became a cruel tyrant and inflicted much suffering upon her. After her husband's untimely death, Anastasia devoted her life to acts of charity and to consoling Christians who were imprisoned for their faith. When she was discovered to be a Christian during the persecutions of Diocletian, Anastasia was captured, tortured, and starved before being crucified, burned alive, and beheaded. The place of her martyrdom is Sirmium in what is today Serbia, and afterwards she was venerated as a healer and exorcist. St. Anastasia is one of the seven women, besides the Virgin Mary, commemorated in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Her feast day is December 25th.
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) - Mass During the Day
Lectionary: 16 Reading 1
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!"
Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.
Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6.
R. (3c) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD. R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say: You are my son; this day I have begotten you? Or again: I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him. Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia. A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. For today a great light has come upon the earth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
Daily Meditation: Isaiah 52:7-10
They see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion. (Isaiah 52:8)
Two thousand years ago, something beautiful and earth-shattering happened. The eternal Son of God entered the world as a baby. Angels rejoiced that day. Shepherds exulted. Joseph was in awe. And Mary was filled with adoration.
Yet for all that, anyone passing by the manger would have seen nothing more than a poor tradesman and his wife trying to make the best of a hard situation.
That's the difference between the quick glance that comes from everyday "seeing" and the searching, penetrating vision that comes when God opens our hearts. One sees something ordinary and moves on, while the other senses Jesus' presence and kneels in worship.
Today, more than any other day, we can imitate Mary and Joseph and the shepherds as they gazed on the infant in the manger. We can welcome Jesus as the Savior who came to redeem us, not to condemn us. We can embrace him as our Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for us. We can praise him as the King of kings and Lord of lords, who rules all creation from a cross of self-giving love.
Don't miss this opportunity! Don't let the demands or the excitement of the day reduce you to "ordinary" seeing. Don't let the challenges of the present or the fear of the future or the pain of the past cloud your vision. Wherever you are and whatever you have to do, take some time alone to gaze at the sleeping Christ child. If it helps, use your nativity set. If you don't have one, use the cover of this magazine! Whatever it takes, focus on Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see him.
Jesus has come to restore not only Zion but you and everyone around you. Come to him today, and let his promise of restoration fill you with hope and gratitude.
"O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!"
Psalm 98:1-6 Hebrews 1:1-6 John 1:1-18
When God came to this world, he did not leave heaven empty. When he came to this world, he was not shaved down, whittled down to human proportions. Rather, Christ was the life of God dwelling in human flesh. — Ven. Fulton J. Sheen from Through the Year with Fulton Sheen
my2cents: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!" King of Kings and He is born in this world. Many names He has been given, and what name does He take in your life? Not only is He King, but Father Truth, and Father Love.
Today we pray: "The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God."
In the Holy Gospel we hear: "What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness". Today's Saint Anastasia gives us a glimpse into the life of Christ.
Our Lord was born according to the book of Revelation.
The Mother cried in pain as she was about to give birth and the dark powers swept the stars in attempts to eradicate the light.
King Herod murdered by his mere word many innocent children. But darkness did not win. And in the end, it will not win. This frustrating epidemic is the realization of the very fact of misery. You are not happy and so you want others to not be happy. You are not promised happiness nor do you desire happiness, and so you live in misery. I think of my years growing up, I went from wonder and awe as a child to being a closed headed young man in a dark world, not as happy as I once was as a youth. My youth was robbed of me, misery began to take root, and my misery was sin. Sin is miserable, and sin kills. These are the lights that are swept by darkness.
But darkness did not overcome. Lights remain. They remain no matter what, it is impossible to turn out the lights in the universe, and even if it did, the lights do not cease to exist, because we are dealing with what is called, the matter. And so, the opposite takes effect whence GOD speaks. The Word is made flesh in Mary. Mary delivers the promise. And we become the promise keepers. I am venturing back to wonder and awe. I am fighting to take back what was robbed of me...purity, innocence, and true joy. When was it? Today I was born, 43 years ago. When was my joy? Today people wish me Happy Birthday, and I am supposed to be filled with joy. But I've taken on misery. My friends have lost children in accidents, and other friends are losing their parents, and another child I pray for cannot breathe without a tube in his throat. Aren't I supposed to be super happy today? I'm surrounded by gifts and food as if for a king, but what I desire is not satiated. I desire mercy, not sacrifice, says our Lord.
And what God wants we must deliver. We must be the promise keepers. When was I last joyful? Was it when I lived in a 15ft. x 15ft. adobe mud room in the corrals when I was an infant in a third world country? No lights, no water, just me and my mom and dad. What kept me warm? It was love. Who fed me? Who saw to it that I did not get hurt? My Guardian Angel.
You are not alone in your life, in your suffering. I blew out a birthday candle as my 8 kids and wife sung to me, and as I blew out the candle in a flash my wish flew through my breathe "I want the world to bless God". I want yes, healing, but I desire more faith. If Jesus is speaking His birthday wish, listen to the non profitable Prophet, brother Adrian. I write to you with great love. I take my 3pm prayer to you as I write to you on this special day of the birth of the King of Kings, OUR KING.
Lord, I desire mercy too. Be merciful O Lord. With compassion lead us to the light of salvation. Few are chosen, but we only see a few stars of the trillions in existence. And that is enough to guide us. We need Your light Lord. My gift, is an open box so that You may fill it with grace to give to the world, Your precious and holy gift for Kings. Because you are awesome, and because you are worthy. I love you, and I celebrate life in You Holy Father. I write this message in a bottle, and let it drift to the soul to bring hope forever...Christ's Mass is the most amazing gift from Heaven.
Random online bible verse: Mark 12:30–31
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."