Merry Christmas! Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There are various options for readings to proclaim at Christmas Masses, each highlighting aspects of Jesus’ incarnation and birth. At the end of a difficult year, the readings for Christmas Masses during the day offer us needed comfort and hope.
All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God. (Is 52:10)
How do you maintain hope during difficult times?
Where do you witness God in the world?
How can the Incarnation help you to reflect on the glory of God?
In the first reading from Isaiah, the prophet stresses God’s ability to redeem Jerusalem. At the time, people had been living in the city during periods of attack by the Babylonians, and they likely felt hopeless and abandoned by God, uncertain when the siege and oppression would end. Isaiah announces the arrival of peace, joy and good news in the land as God comforts and redeems the people. On Christmas and always, we should remember God’s love and redemption. God is with us, especially during difficult moments. Relief will come, hopefully sooner rather than later.
The second reading from Hebrews and the Gospel from John both proclaim Jesus as the divine Son through whom the world was created. Hebrews calls the Son “God’s glory” that sustains all things. Similarly, John affirms Jesus as the Word (Gk. logos) of God who participated in creation. Through the Incarnation, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory.”
In the Old Testament, God’s glory is kabod, which in Hebrew means “God’s weight, honor and splendor.” Kabod is God’s essence that is present with the Israelites, often residing in the tabernacle or the temple. Divine glory is the powerful presence of God that shines forth on the earth. This Christmas season is an excellent time to reflect on how the birth of Christ reveals divine glory, and we should strive to feel God’s presence in our lives.