Living the Paschal Mystery: A Christmas Day Reflection

Living the Paschal Mystery: A Christmas Day Reflection

To the point

It is no coincidence that the opening words of John’s Prologue proclaimed at Christmas, “In the beginning” (Jn 1:1), are the same words we hear at the Easter Vigil in the story of Creation from Genesis. John’s theological hymn begins the evangelist’s gradual revelation of Christ’s identity, from Divine Word spoken from the beginning, to Word made Flesh in the life of Jesus, to Word of Life breathed from the cross from the Son’s spirit commended back to the Father with whom he is one from the beginning.

Christmas is intimately tied to Easter for the Incarnation is the beginning of the Resurrection. In this Christological descent of the Word spoken on the first day of Creation—“Let there be light” (Gn 1:3)—we are taken up in the Son’s ascent to the Father, “that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity” (Collect, Nativity of the Lord, Mass during the Day).

This is how God saves us: through our very humanity. We need not reject the world in order to see God and know God’s presence. Rather, we dwell more deeply into it with the grace we have received as God’s children, just as the Word dwelt among us in grace and truth. Thus will we be taken up in Christ to see God’s glory in our midst.

To ponder and pray

The Gospel of Christmas Day is not what most normally think of as the “Christmas story,” a conflation of Jesus’s birth from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. There are no shepherds, but there is the Good Shepherd whose feet upon the mountains bring good news. There is no star, but the Light, which no darkness can overcome. We hear no hosts of angels, but the Word made Flesh through whom God spoke clearly and fully. No babe, meek and mild, do we gather around but the very imprint of God’s being in whom we are gathered to become children of God.

Christmas Day soothes with no bedtime lullabies nor amuses with innocent pageants. Rather, in the harsh light of day, when all the world’s brokenness is laid bare, we hear the sentinels weep for joy at the announcement of “peace.” Click To Tweet

Christmas Day soothes with no bedtime lullabies nor amuses with innocent pageants. Rather, in the harsh light of day, when all the world’s brokenness is laid bare, we hear the sentinels weep for joy at the announcement of “peace.” Song is heard among the ruins of our relationships made right. For in this beginning, with this birth, we, too, are recreated again.

Today reminds us that Christmas is more than a child’s story. It is the narrative that rewrites our story, saying to all that, in God’s eyes, humanity is worth saving, not from afar, but in the midst of our darkness. Out of love for us, our God is born into the suffering of our human weakness that we may know the freedom of dying to our sinfulness and rising to new life in Christ.

From Living Liturgy: Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities, 2020, Liturgical Press, Copyright © 2019, Order of Saint Benedict. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

See also these related articles:
  1. Christmas Day Liturgy: Returning to Basics
  2. Living the Paschal Mystery: A Christmas Day Reflection
  3. Peace in the midst of turmoil
  4. Responding to the Christmas message
  5. Keep your eyes on Christ: An Epiphany reflection
  6. What Lies Beneath: Finding Easter in Christmas
  7. A prayer when you have nothing left to give and a blessing when you’re exhausted
  8. Christmas: The Vigil Mass – Living Liturgy: Traditions and Genealogies
  9. Be extra kind to your music director and liturgist this Christmas: An open letter
  10. Advent 04B – Living Liturgy: The gradual nature of seasons

 

Image credit: D A V I D S O N L U N A, Unsplash

 

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