Let us ponder the First Christmas, and the lead-in to it.

Take a look at this newly-wed couple of Joseph and Mary.  They travel in the Advent of Jesus’ Birth, going on a journey from Galilee to Judah, Nazareth to Bethlehem.   The First Christmas is arriving.  It will take place in Bethlehem soon.   Let us go back to that moment to be glad that it took place for us.

We are on that spiritual journey ourselves to Christmas 2018  So, take a little time to pray along with hope and celebration for this Gift coming to us and to the world.   God is come among us, and He will offer the Greatest Gift: Love   and Salvation from the Divine, re-gained friendship with God, and Peace.   Astonishingly, it will come in the Infant now hidden in the Woman’s womb.

This holy couple would go forth to Bethlehem to bring forth the fulfillment of the Great Promise to the world from God; a promise was made to the Hebrew people that an Anointed One from Heaven (The Christ) would come, even in a holy lineage through the ages of their people to a special time.  Out of their poor-in-spirit people would come an amazing offer of God:  The Holy Child would be Savior to us all.

Prophesy called this long-awaited One to be born as a Nazarene, a first-born son, born of a virgin, conceived in mystery, yet to be born in Bethlehem, David’s city.  He was forecast to come among shepherds as a Chief Shepherd, born right in the line of David, of the tribe of Judah as its “lion”, and be even out of Abraham of old (to return to Jerusalem to fulfill a covenant).

We know the Christmas story leads to the Holy Family’s sojourn to Africa. Prophesies said that He’d be called out of Egypt to save, so this part of the story will play out, as well.  Prophesy names our Hope come as Savior of God (“Jesus” means just that—Yeshua, God Saves), and that He’d also be called God-with-us (Emmanuel), God-Hero, Prince of Peace, and as Lamb of God offered for sinners to be made forgiven, by Whose stripes we’d be made whole.  Jesus brought all of these dreams and hopes and promises to fulfillment.

As Moses had seen deliverance come from God to the Exodus people, now Jesus is THE DELIVERER, and He would be celebrated, too, as The Bread of Life, and the Resurrection and the Life.*    Our Masses celebrate Him indeed as this Living Hope, and every Mass is Christ’ Mass.  He’s the One the Church celebrates, every day, and especially in this Christ’ Mass (Christmas) of The Lord’s Nativity. (Hence, the feast’s name!)  So, I encourage us all to pray:  “Thank You, Lord, for the Greatest Gift of Christmas Ever:  Yourself in Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord.   I receive and celebrate Him again—for Christmas. Amen”

Fr. J. Barry

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