Prayers: A light will shine on us this day, the Lord is born for us: he shall be called Wonderful God, Prince of peace, Father of the world to come; and his kingship will never end. Is 9: 1, 5; Lk 1: 33
Father, we are filled with the new light by the coming of your Word among us. May the light of faith shine in our words and actions. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Almighty God and Father of light, a child is born for us and a son is given to us. Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. 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, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke (2.15-20)
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
(Homily by Fr. E. J. Tyler)
On Christmas day we wish one another a very happy Christmas. It is a beautiful thing to mean by this to wish another the joy of having a Saviour born for us. But this true meaning of Christmas has surely been largely lost from view. At Christmas many political leaders offer Christmas wishes to the public. How rare in their Christmas messages is any principal reference to the person of Jesus Christ, and any acknowledgment of who he really is. The world of business regards Christmas as an important time indeed, but it is important because of its commercial value. Christmas is successful if a lot of money has been spent. Our society is rightly described as secular, and with this secularism there is present in our culture a subtle and all-pervasive pressure to separate man from God, and to treat God as a purely personal and indeed subjective notion. God is excluded from social and public life, and so it is an embarrassment to mention Christ openly. Christmas has become a secular celebration, a good time in a material and social sense. I read some years back that in China the government was allowing the commercial celebration of Christmas in Changhai (with figures of Santa Claus and Christmas trees) in order to boost buying and selling, while of course repressing all independent worship of Christ.
Christ is used for secular purposes. While Christ is pushed out of sight in order to celebrate a world without God, the convinced Christian welcomes Christ as the Lord of the world. “I bring you news of great joy,” the angel said to the shepherds, “a saviour has been born to you, Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:1-14). He is mankind’s Messiah and Lord. We remember how Thomas bowed before the risen Jesus and said, My Lord and my God. Our Lord himself said that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him by his heavenly Father. So then, as we celebrate Christmas, let us intend to celebrate Jesus our Lord and his coming, and not just secular values. We ought not allow ourselves to be drawn unconsciously into a celebration of the good things of life with no real reference to Christ. On Christmas day let us welcome Christ, and not just a merry time. Let us acknowledge him as the gift of God to the whole of humanity. He is the one who makes all the difference to everything.