Christmas Readings: Lk 2:1-14, Jn 1:1-18, Titus 2:11-14, Hebrews 1:1-6
The readings for Christmas include Lk 2:1-14 in which we have the story of the Shepherds watching their flock in the field when the angel came to them. And the angel proclaimed ‘good news of great joy that will be for all the people’. In the Gospel of John 1:1-18 we read that Jesus is the true light, that gives light to every person. The light that shines in darkness is born of God. And even though the darkness does not understand this light, it still shines for all. Living in this light we are called to be a people who are eager to do what is good. In Paul’s letter to Titus 2:11-14 he tells of the grace of God that brings salvation to all people, to receive this gift so as to live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’. In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews we are reminded of God’s constant presence, in times past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets but now the Son is ‘the radiance of God’s glory’ and we are all offered this gift.
God’s gift through his Son, is for all. It is a gift of light, of grace for all able to receive it. Our inability to receive can sometimes come from a hurt, a lack of self-esteem, a sense of being unworthy. But this gift is born of God and is love. So how can I receive it? By not being judgmental of myself, of doing what is good, by being open, releasing the negative and of nourishing gratitude. The image of the shepherds in a field looking out for their flock during the night, watching all that was around them and being aware of sounds, smells and movements is a striking scene. By our watching and listening we too can be led to seeing the glory of God as the shepherds were led by the angel. The same can be said also of sudden interruptions in life, things not going according to human plan, like the shepherds were led to an unexpected scene where God’s presence became evident. The gift perhaps is to look for the good in all situations, for in the darkness the light does shine even though at that moment we may not understand it.
Who or what this Christmas will lead you to the light where God’s love for you will be made manifest in your life so as to lead you to embrace the radiance of God’s glory?
Edel Murphy OP