I have always liked the word truth. Christmas in all its warmth and excitement represents a truth. If Jesus were coming back on Christmas Day, how would your life look different between now and then? What type of prep work would you want to do?
Well, take a look at the Gospels.
The gospel of Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and how He was a friend to sinners, while John’s gospel emphasizes the deity of Christ. The purpose of each written Gospel is so people may know and believe in Jesus, so they can have the eternal life that He offers.
The Gospel of Luke says:
1 [v]In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus[w]that the whole world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn son.[x] She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
He is the reason for the season, and we need to be sure to celebrate his birth. It is in the silence of my moments that we truly can revel in God.
Christmas does not start until December 25, and it lasts 12 days until Epiphany. That’s why we have the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.When someone or something important is about to enter into your life, there is a lot of preparation work you need to be done.
I know I would probably be a lot more intentional at loving my neighbor and loving God, knowing that those two things are of highest priority in the kingdom of God. Our world is full of tragedy, evil, and pain. Every time we hear about natural disasters, mass shootings, wars, disease, and genocide, alongside our grief, we have hope that someday Jesus’ second coming will put an end to it all.
That’s what Advent is all about: preparation, repentance, and hope.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we celebrate the incarnation. God became man. The Word became flesh (John 1). The incarnation is the starting point for understanding the identity of Jesus. It sets the stage for comprehending the significance of his life, death, and resurrection.
So as we start to focus on the joy tonight remember your alphabet.
A is for an angel, Gabriel, who began the story with a greeting:
“Good evening! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you!” Luke 1.28, The Message
B is for Bethlehem, where our story takes place. People traveled from far and wide to arrive in the city; it was a very busy place.
C is for a census (that’s a counting of all the people) the reason so many people filled the city of Bethlehem.
D is for the donkey that carried a family on their long journey to Bethlehem to be counted.
E is for exhausted, that’s how everyone felt when they arrived – tired from all the travelling.
F is for family: Mary and Joseph and their new baby Jesus, who was born that night in Bethlehem.
Carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem
G is for the Good News about to be shared with all the earth. This is what was said: Luke 2.8-16
H is for herds, all the animals that were present in the stable, and the flocks of sheep in the field with the shepherds when they heard the good news.
I is for our imaginations, stirred by this story!
J is for joy the excitement and happiness that a new baby, and now, this special night brings.
K is for kindness, shown by the innkeeper that night, allowing a tired family to stay in the stable when there was no room in the inn.
L is for the love we share with one another all through the year and especially at Christmas.
M is for the manger, it is usually used to hold food for animals, but this time it held the baby because he had no crib.
N is for Noel, another word for Christmas. It means new birth, that’s what happened in our story, and it happens every year.
O is for offering, there were many gifts for the baby; we even have some to share now!
P is for prayer and praise and pondering, all different ways people reacted the amazing thing that happened. We pray and praise and ponder together:
Q is for quiet, the deep peace that Christmas brings – knowing that God is with us.
R is for revelation, God showing us who God is (in a little baby born one night)
S is for one special star that shone bright in the night showing wise ones the way to Jesus.
T is for trust, the confidence we have in God.
U is for unity, all different people brought together tonight to celebrate God’s love!
V is for vulnerable, a little child needs to be cared for, protected–that’s our job.
W is for wonder– our amazement at the beauty of how much God loves us.
X is for Xmas, the x is actually the symbol for Christ – it is the first letter of the Greek word.
Y is for You! here to celebrate and worship.
Z is for zeal, the passion with which we share the Good News and God’s love, tonight.
Remember to stop and think about what God wants from us during Christmas.
Love, togetherness, and rejoicing are the things He wants from us!
Slow down and take in what is around you. Attend Mass and rediscover the glory of the season.