Ps 98:1, 2–3, 3–4, 5–6
All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
1st Reading: Is 52:7–10
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those
who bring good news,
who herald peace and happiness,
who proclaim salvation
and announce to Zion: “Your God is king!”
Together your watchmen
raise their voices in praise and song;
they see Yahweh face to face returning to Zion.
Break into shouts of joy,
O ruins of Jerusalem,
for Yahweh consoles his people
and redeems Jerusalem.
Yahweh has bared his holy arm
in the eyes of the nations;
all the ends of the earth, in alarm,
will witness God’s salvation.
2nd Reading: Heb 1:1–6
God has spoken in the past to our ancestors through the prophets, in many different ways, although never completely; but in our times he has spoken definitively to us through his Son.
He is the one God appointed heir of all things, since through him he unfolded the stages of the world.
He is the radiance of God’s Glory and bears the stamp of God’s hidden being, so that his powerful word upholds the universe. And after taking away sin, he took his place at the right hand of the divine Majesty in heaven.
So he is now far superior to angels just as the name he received sets him apart from them. To what angel did God say: You are my son, I have begotten you today?and to what angel did he promise: I shall be a father to him and he will be a son to me? On sending his Firstborn to the world, God says: Let all the angels adore him.
Gospel: Jn 1:1–18 (or Jn 1:1–5, 9–14)
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 were made through him and without him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in him, life which for humans was also light. Light that shines in the dark: light that darkness could not overcome. A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him.
For the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He came to his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but all who have received him he empowers to become children of God for they believe in his Name. These are born, but without seed or carnal desire or will of man: they are born of God. And the Word was made flesh; he had his tent pitched among us, and we have seen his Glory, the Glory of the only Son coming from the Father: fullness of truth and loving-kindness.
From his fullness we have all received, favor upon favor. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-Only-Son made him known: the one who is in and with the Father.
Christmas! The great feast of the amazing grace of God’s love for humanity! The Word that is God becomes a helpless, defenseless human baby! God, who is perfection personified, whom the universe cannot contain, becomes a finite, localized, and fragile child. God who is life is born as a mortal. All this, out of God’s love for us, His desire to redeem us! On this Feast of all feasts, let us listen to the great mystic, Meister Eckhart:
“Here in time we celebrate the eternal birth that God the Father bore and still bears constantly in eternity, and which is also now born in time, in human nature. St. Augustine says that this birth is happening continually. We should ask ourselves: If it doesn’t happen in me, what good is that birth after all? What ultimately matters is that God’s birth should happen in me.”
May Christ’s birth—a Merry Christmas—happen in you and me!
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