December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014:  Wednesday, 4th week of Advent / Christmas Eve

  • 'Castle' pin:  House of David (1st reading), Joseph taking Mary into his home (gospel)
  • 'Angel' tie pin:  angel Gabriel (gospel)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Jesus was conceived by the Spirit
  • Abacus tie pin:  14 × 3 generations (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  the dawn shall guide us to the way of peace (gospel); Jesus, Prince of Peace
  • 'Christmas lights' tie:  Jesus, Light of the World
  • 'Christmas tree' suspenders, pin (legend):  Christmas!

Mary's attitude:
  • Faith, listening to God's Word to surrender to it with mind and heart.  She doesn't know the road, the risks, or the pain, but she knows the Lord is asking and says yes.
  • Capacity to recognise God's time.  She teaches us to seize the favorable moment when Jesus passes and asks for a prompt, generous response.  Jesus passes because the mystery of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem occurs as a spiritual event today.  The Word that finds a home in Mary's womb of Mary calls out to every Christian; it passes and knocks.  Each of us is called to answer yes like Mary, placing ourselves at the disposal of God and his love.
How often does Jesus pass into our lives, sending an angel, but we don't realize because we're preoccupied.  When we feel, "I want to be better" or "I feel remorse,” the Lord is calling.  Stop, pray, and clean up; don't miss him. Note Joseph's silent presence.  He and Mary invite us to receive with openness Jesus who made himself our brother and came to bring light and peace to the world.  Christ, our true peace, gives us peace of soul.  Open your door to Christ!

Morning:  Advent
Wordle: Readings 12-24-14 AM
  • 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16  Lord to David via Nathan:  “Should you build me a house?  I chose you, have been with you, and will make you famous.  My people will dwell safely.  I'll establish a House for you, raise up your heir, make his Kingdom firm, be father to him.  Your throne shall stand forever.”
  • Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  God's covenant with David will stand firm.
  • Lk 1:67-79  Zechariah prophesied:  “Blessed be God who came and freed his people, raising up a Savior from the House of David.  He promised to save, show mercy, remember his covenant, and free us to worship him.  You, John, will prepare the Lord's way, giving people knowledge of salvation by forgiveness.  In God's tender compassion, dawn shall shine on those in darkness and to guide us to the way of peace.”
Evening:  Christmas vigil

  • Is 62:1-5  Nations shall behold your vindication and kings your glory.  You'll be a crown in the Lord's hand.  People will no longer call you “Forsaken” but rather “My Delight”; God will marry you and rejoice in you.
    Wordle: Readings 12-24-14 evening
  • Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  I'll maintain my covenant, my kindness, and your throne forever.  Blessed those who walk in your light; they rejoice and are exalted.
  • Acts 13:16-17, 22-25  Paul:  “God chose our ancestors, led them out of Egypt, raised up David as king, and from his descendants brought a savior, Jesus.  John heralded his coming:  ‘One is coming after me; I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals.’”
  • Mt 1:1-25  Genealogy of Jesus, son of David, son of Abraham:  14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian exile, 14 from the exile to Christ.  Before Mary and Joseph lived together, Mary was found with child.  Joseph was about to divorce her, but angel appeared:  “Take Mary into your home; the child was conceived through the Spirit.  Name the child Jesus; he'll save his people.”  This fulfilled the prophecy, “The virgin shall bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, God-is-with-us.”  Joseph did as the angel commanded.
    • Creighton:  Today's readings are about the promise to David of a heir and about Zechariah's proclamation, but our minds may be elsewhere.  Our Savior didn't come into a wonderful palace; he chose to come as a newborn baby in a feeding trough.  We can be filled with something our world will likely not be celebrating:  that God-with-us wants to meet us in the lowliest places in our lives.  Let us approach the manger open to the graces we can hope for and receive:  peace, and that we might bring peace to others.
    • One Bread One Body:  Hundreds of thousands pray Zechariah's canticle every morning as part of the Liturgy of the Hours.  The Church so emphasizes his prophecy because:
      • It's a prophecy
      • Zechariah prayed it when he was filled with the Spirit.  So may we be when we pray it.
      • It reminds us Jesus is the Dayspring, the Dawn, Light of the world.
      • It immediately precedes the Bible's account of the first Christmas, and praying this prayer has proven a good way to prepare to meet Christ in a new way.
    • Passionist:  Airport Security stopped a priest leaving the Holy Land to x-ray his new crib set to check for explosives.   He said, they had no idea how explosive these figures are!  If only we knew!  We celebrate the volatile moment when God became united with humanity by taking on human flesh.  Luke uses the Greek splagchnon (tender compassion from one's innards) to describe God's feelings for us:  "The tender compassion shall break upon us."  How blessed we are that God is so fond of us!
    •  When John the Baptist was circumcised, his father, Spirit-filled, prophesied a hymn of blessing for God's redemptive work in Christ, foreseeing the fulfillment of God's promise that David's dynasty would endure through the Messiah's coming.  The Spirit gave Zechariah a vision of his own son as prophet and forerunner to prepare the Messiah's way.  Every devout Jew longed for the Messiah's coming; Zechariah knew it was near.  The Spirit wants to give us vision, joy, and confidence in knowing God's love, protection, and care in Christ.  We're called to prepare the way that leads to Christ.  The Lord visits us each day with his Word and Spirit.  In sending the Messiah, God visited his people to redeem them; we celebrate God's gift of sending his only Son to redeem us.  May the Spirit inspire us and fill us with joy and boldness to proclaim the message of the Lord's visitation and redemption.

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