What is Christmas?

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The WORD in other words by Fr Chito Lorenzo SVD — Japan

December 25 / Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord / Christmas Day

I cannot help but observe that this year’s Christmas day is also a Sunday. Two holy days of obligation, and you only need one mass. For those who like going to mass, this might seem like they are being shortchanged. But for others, this coincidence is a happy occasion.

I want to look at it from a liturgical point of view. Christmas Day is Christ’s birthday. Sunday is a celebration of Easter, Christ’s resurrection. One is about the beginning of life here on earth, and the other is about life in heaven.

It is also important to remember that the birth of Christ would not have happened without the cooperation of persons God selected beforehand. There are, of course, the people in Jesus’ genealogy, but most of all, we must appreciate the willingness of Mary and Joseph to follow God’s will manifested through visions and dreams.

“I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word,” said Mary to the angel, and with this consent, it is said that all created things breathed a sigh of relief. For it was only Mary, born without original sin, who was capable of bearing the Son of God in her womb. Had Mary not given her consent, I wonder what would have happened to our Christmas story.

Mary carried Jesus in her womb and gave birth to him on Christmas day. As Christians, we are supposed to be carrying Jesus in our hearts, and we give birth to him, so to speak, when we practice our faith in our daily lives.

The first reading tells us “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news.” During the time of the prophet Isaiah, the news was brought by runners who had to scale mountains to reach some towns. Today, we have many ways to bring news to the world, but the Christian brings the good news of Jesus Christ not just by words but, more importantly, by deeds.

We are the modern runners who bring good news. And the good news becomes truly a blessing to others when we practice what we preach.

This Christmas the best presents we can give are not bought in stores but generated from our hearts. Words of endearment and love, acts of forgiveness and reconciliation, giving of our time for others.

Christ gives us the gift of himself on Christmas day. God became man to show his love for us. Let us follow his example and also give of ourselves to God and one another.

May the Christmas spirit be with us always.

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