Commentary on the Gospel of
This reflection will be coming soon. Until then, here is a reflection from Tom Shanahan, S.J. for this day, in 2013.
We do not worship a god who is far away, unapproachable, too busy to notice us, or a god who abandons us to our own devices. Christmas speaks of a totally different story. Christmas is all about God’s loving desire to be with us personally, to accompany us on our journey, and to continually invite us into his wonderful life.
Today we realize and acknowledge the magnificent miracle of God actually becoming one of us. Our faith professed each Sunday and Holy Days during the year tells us that God becomes human for us. Why? So that God can share everything with us and to be present to each of us as we are.
On this Christmas Eve, we celebrate God’s creativity in journeying to be with us so intimately as one like us in all things. The first reading from the Second Book of Samuel has David reflecting on his situation and its relationship with God’s role towards his chosen ones: the People of God.
David remarks, “Here I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.” He acknowledges that disparity and wants to remedy it somehow. However, God has quite different plans and seems not to be bothered by the differences David worries over.
God speaks a message to the prophet Nathan for him to deliver to David. “I have been with you wherever you went. . . Your house shall endure forever.” God does not seem to be “slumming” by dwelling in a tent with his beloved people, but desires to be present through David, his family and his house. God’s commitment is to be faithfully present to the Israelites and to all people beginning with David’s line.
When God “pitches his tent” among us through the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus that same desire on God’s part is manifested in spades. Now Jesus, the Son of God, the incarnation of God, the very presence of God is made known not in an ark but personally in the humanness of Jesus.
Lord, on this Christmas Eve we come to you as your people longing to grow in faithfully responding to you in the Person of Jesus the Christ born for us in Bethlehem. As we come to know Brother Jesus ever more deeply, help us to develop each day an awareness of who he is for and with us. We are indeed marvelously blessed by God’s presence in Jesus; be with us as we continue to discover the marvels of that presence and to offer it to all we meet.
On the eve of Christmas, we reflect on the song that Zachariah intoned when the birth of his son changed his life and healed the harm his lack of faith caused in his life. Zachariah now rejoices in a God who saves in his song of praise which summarizes the essence of Christmas. ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.’ God’s visit to us is like a dawn from on high to give light to those in darkness. God’s visit which Zachariah sings shows that God has time for his people. God makes himself available to save his people, to bring us back to His love by offering us reconciliation and peace. Therefore, the blessing that Zachariah sings announces the program of God for his people. The Lord is at our doorstep to lighten our darkness and to guide us to peace. Let us welcome him with all our heart.