“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”


 

Saturday (December 31):Scripture: John 1:1-18

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things

His Only-begotten Son and the Word of God 1885...

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were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. 11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 15 (John bore witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'”) 16 And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

Meditation: Why does John the Evangelist begin his gospel with a description of the Word of God which began the creation of the universe and humankind in the first book of Genesis? The “word of God” was a common expression among the Jews. God’s word in the Old Testament is an active, creative, and dynamic word. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6). “He sends forth his commands to the earth; his word runs swiftly” (Psalm 147:15). “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29)? The writer of the Book of Wisdom addresses God as the one who “made all things by your word” (Wisdom 9:1). God’s word is also equated with his wisdom. “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth” (Proverbs 3:19).The Book of Wisdom describes “wisdom” as God’s eternal, creative, and illuminating power. Both “word” and “wisdom” are seen as one and the same. “For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command” (Book of Wisdom 18:14-16).

John describes Jesus as God’s creative, life-giving and light-giving word that has come to earth in human form. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus is the wisdom and power of God which created the world and sustains it who assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. “What he was, he remained, and what he was not he assumed” (from an early church antiphon for morning prayer). Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother. From the time of the Apostles the Christian faith has insisted on the incarnation of God’s Son “who has come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2)
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Gregory of Nyssa, one of the great early church fathers (330-395 AD) wrote: Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again.  We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.  Are these things minor or insignificant?  Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?

Christians never cease proclaiming anew the wonder of the Incarnation. The Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. The Son of God …worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved.  Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin (Gaudium et Spes).

If we are going to behold the glory of God we will do it through Jesus Christ. Jesus became the partaker of our humanity so we could be partakers of his divinity (2 Peter 1:4). God’s purpose for us, even from the beginning of his creation, is that we would be fully united with Him. When Jesus comes God is made known as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By our being united in Jesus, God becomes our Father and we become his sons and daughters. Do you thank the Father for sending his only begotten Son to redeem you and to share with you his glory?

“Almighty God and Father of light, your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.”

Psalm 96:1-2,11-13

1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

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“The child Jesus grew and became strong”


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Friday (December 30):

 

 

 

Scripture: Luke 2:22, 39-40

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own

, Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Meditation: What binds families together? Jesus came to show us the way to the Father’s house in heaven – a way of unconditional love and unity, peace and harmony, trust and submission as members of God’s family. After Joseph and Mary presented the child Jesus in the temple, they returned to their home city of Nazareth. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised the child Jesus in the wisdom of God. Under their care the boy Jesus “grew, became strong, and was filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). The Lord’s favor is with all, parents and children alike, who listen to God’s word with trust and obedience. Do you want to grow and help others as well grow in the wisdom and favor of the Lord?

“Lord Jesus, you came to restore us to unity with the Father in heaven. Where there is division, bring healing and pardon. May all peoples and families find peace, wholeness, and unity in you, the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world.”

Psalm 128

1 Happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways.
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!



 

Thursday (December 29): “This child is set for the fall and rising of many”Scripture: 

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22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; 30 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation 31 which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in  Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

Meditation: Is your life in tune with the Holy Spirit? Simeon was a man who was just towards others and devout towards God. He gladly accepted the mission God called him to perform with much fervent prayer and with patient expectation. His whole life was in tune with the Holy Spirit.  His was found daily in the temple in prayer and worship and in humble and faithful expectation for the day that the Lord would comfort his people.  As the days and months grew into years he never lost hope. When  Joseph and Mary presented the child Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized the Lord’s presence in his temple. Through eyes of faith he say the infant Jesus as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers of the people of Israel. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be “a revealing light to the Gentiles”. Jesus came not only as “light and salvation” for the people of Israel, but for all nations as well.

Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night as he led them through the wilderness. God’s glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). When the first temple was build in Jerusalem God’s glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8). After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave it (Ezekiel 10). But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9). That promise is fulfilled when the “King of Glory” himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1).  Through Jesus’coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Do you recognize that you are God’s temple and that his Spirit dwells within you?

Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the joy of a life fully surrendered to God with faith and trust?

“Lord Jesus, may I recognize your visitation and be prepared for your action in my life today, just as Simeon Anna were prepared and ready to respond to your visitation and action in their day.”

Psalm 96:1-6

1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

“Rachel weeping for her children because they were no more”


 

Wednesday (December 28): Scripture: 

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13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and  flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”

Meditation: Who can explain suffering, especially the suffering of innocent children? Herod’s massacre of children who gave their lives for a person and a truth they did not know seemed so useless and unjust. What a scandal and stumbling block for those who can’t recognize God’s redeeming love. Why couldn’t God prevent this slaughter? Suffering is indeed a mystery. No explanation seems to satisfy our human craving to understand. What does Paul the Apostle mean when he says: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose (Romans 8:28)?  These innocent children and their parents suffered for Christ. Suffering, persecution, and martyrdom are the lot of all who chose to follow Jesus Christ. There is no crown without the cross. It was through Jesus’ suffering, humiliation, and death on a cross, that our salvation was won. His death won life – eternal life for us. And his blood which was shed for our sake obtained pardon and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

Suffering takes many forms: illness, disease, handicap, physical pain and emotional trauma, slander, abuse, poverty, and injustice. Jesus exclaimed that those who weep, who are reviled and persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12). The word blessed [makarios in the Greek] literally means happiness or beatitude. It describes a kind of joy which is serene and untouchable, self-contained and independent from chance and changing circumstances of life. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that“no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the joy of a life fully surrendered to God with faith and trust?

“Lord, you gave your life for my sake, to redeem me from slavery to sin and death.  Help me to carry my cross with joy that I may willingly do your will and not shrink back out of fear or cowardice when trouble besets me.”

Psalm 124

1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

John, the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, saw and believed


Tuesday (Decenber 27): Scripture: 

2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; 5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

Meditation: What was it like for those who encountered the Son of God in human form? John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, wrote his gospel as an eye-witness of  the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us, and who died and rose for our salvation. John was the first apostle to reach the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. Like the other disciples, he was not ready to see an empty tomb and to hear the angel’s message, Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5)?  What did John see in the tomb that led him to believe in the resurrection of Jesus? It was certainly not a dead body. The dead body of Jesus would have disproven the resurrection and made his death a tragic conclusion to a glorious career as a great teacher and miracle worker. When John saw the empty tomb he must have recalled Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise again after three days. Through the gift of faith John realized that no tomb on earth could contain the Lord and giver of life.

John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity. This “word of life” is Jesus the word incarnate, but also Jesus as the word announced by the prophets and Jesus the word now preached throughout the Christian church for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Savior and Lord.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.”

Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12

1 The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
11 Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

“The one who endures to the end will be saved”


Monday (December 26)  Scripture:  

17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Meditation: What is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we want to share in Jesus’ glory, then we, too, must take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps. Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world’s way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk, Churchill offered his country blood, toil, sweat, and tears. This is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will”.

Psalm 31:3-8,17-21

3 Yes, you are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities,
8 and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on you;  let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous  in pride and contempt.
19 O how abundant is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, and wrought for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the sons of men!
20 In the covert of your presence you hide them from the plots of men;  you hold them safe under your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city.

The shepherds praised and glorified God for all they had heard and seen


Christmas Dawn (December 25): Scripture:  (alternate readings from: Matthew 1:1-25; Luke 2:1-14John 1:1-5,9-14)

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Meditation: Have you read the news today – the “good news” of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and son of Mary who was born for us and for our salvation. The word gospel literally means good news! Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah would descend from David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-2; Micah 5:2-4).

The first to hear the good news of the savior’s birth were not the rulers and religious leaders of Israel who were robed in riches and power. The angels first came to  those who were humble and ready to receive the newborn king who was born in poverty and was now lying in a manger made for animals. Just as God had chosen and anointed David, a lowly shepherd of Bethlehem to become the shepherd king of Israel, so Jesus, likewise chose the path of humility and lowliness in coming to Israel as the good shepherd king who would lay down his life for their sake and salvation. After the angels had sung their hymn of glory in the presence of the shepherds, the shepherds made haste to adore the newborn king and sing their hymn of glory as well.

Many of the early church fathers have written hymns and homilies in praise of the Incarnation. John the Monk, an 8th century writer, in his Hymn of the Nativity, sings of the great exchange in the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation – God becoming man in order to bring man to heaven:

Heaven and earth are united today, for Christ is born! Today God has come upon earth, and humankind gone up to heaven. Today, for the sake of humankind, the invisible one is seen in the flesh. Therefore let us glorify him and cry aloud: glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace bestowed by your coming, Savior: glory to you! Today in Bethlehem, I hear the angels: glory to God in the highest! Glory to him whose good pleasure it was that there be peace on earth! The Virgin is now more spacious than the heavens. Light has shone on those in darkness, exalting the lowly who sing like the angels: Glory to God in the highest! Beholding him [Adam] who was in God’s image and likeness fallen through transgression, Jesus bowed the heavens and came down, without change taking up his dwelling in a virgin womb, that he might refashion Adam fallen in corruption, and crying out: glory to your epiphany, my Savior and my God! [Stichera (hymn) of the Nativity of the Lord]

Why was it necessary for the Word of God to become flesh? We needed a savior who could reconcile us with God. Throughout the ages Christians have professed the ancient Nicene Creed: “He became man for our sake and for the sake of our salvation.” The eternal Word became flesh for us so he could offer his life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world through the shedding of his blood on the cross. The Word became flesh to show us the infinite love and tender mercy of God for us sinners. In the feast of Christmas we celebrate present realities – Jesus Christ our redeemer who reigns in heaven and who also lives and reigns in our hearts through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit. And we commemorate past events – the birth of the newborn Messiah King and his manifestation to Israel and to the gentile nations. We thank and bless God for the way in which he has saved us from the power of sin and the curse of death and destruction by sending his son to ransom us and give us pardon and abundant life through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the birthday of our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God wants to fill our hearts anew with joy and gratitude for the greatest gift he could possibly give us – his beloved son Jesus. What can we give thanks for in this great feast of the Incarnation? We can praise and thank God our Father for the fact that the Son of God freely and joyfully assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Jesus came to release the captives from slavery to sin and to open the gates of paradise once again. This day the Holy Spirit invites us to make haste – as the shepherds of Bethlem did – to adore Jesus our King and Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ  is our eternal good shepherd who guides and cares for us unceasingly and who gives us abundant everlasting life and union with the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This day the whole community of heaven joins with all believers of good will on earth in a jubilant song of praise for the good news proclaimed by the angels on Christmas eve: Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).

The joy of Christmas is not for a day or a season. It is an eternal joy, a joy that no one can take from us because it is the joy of Jesus Christ himself made present in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (see Romans 5:2-5). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which no pain nor sorrow can diminish, and which neither life nor death can take away. Do you know the joy of your salvation in Jesus Christ?

“Lord our God, with the birth of your Son, your glory breaks on the world. As we celebrate his first coming, give us a foretaste of the joy that you will grant us when the fulness of his glory has filled the earth.”

Psalm 97:1-6, 11-12

1 The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about.
4 His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
11 Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!