Meditations for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity

Dec 25, 2017 by

Dec 25
am: 2, 85
pm: 132, 110
Micah 4:1-5, 5:2-4 1 John 4:7-16 John 3:26-31

Notes on the Liturgical Feast for TodayFeast of the Nativity – Christmas

 The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt  About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria says that certain Egyptian over curiously theologians” assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ’s birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus but 354, civil documents in Rome contain three important entries on the  civil calendar. There 25 December is marked “Natalis Invicti” and on the “Depositio Martyrum” a list of Roman or early and universally venerated martyrs, under 25 December is found “VIII kal. ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeæ.

The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ,  first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131. In Dutch it is Kerstmis, in Latin Dies Natalis, whence comes the French Noël, and Italian Il natale; in German Weihnachtsfest, from the preceding sacred vigil.

Biblical Meditation The word of John the Divine  both in the Office reading and the Eucharist  call to mind the  “why” of Christmas in profound but beautiful terms. Simply put the reason is love incarnate, kenotic love, amazing love! This love is more than Eros  (that which is an attraction), more than just affection (phileo), but pure, uncompromising love. The Feast of the Nativity takes God’s self-giving to a totally new level. In Jesus we recognize that self-giving is the very nature of God. No more partial insights, no more trying to comprehend how God lives and loves as  Jesus is “the very imprint of God’s being.”

PRAYERJesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us. As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart. May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving! Amen.

Spiritual Discipline /Activity The original Christmas story is about the ultimate gift given for the purpose of changing the world. Take time today to change a person’s world. Talk, listen (and maybe even sing Christmas carols) with those who would be blessed by a person changing their world.

Ancient Words/Present Grace:

“Blessed be that Child, Who gladdened Bethlehem today! Blessed be the Babe Who made manhood young again today! Blessed be the Fruit, Who lowered Himself to our famished state! Blessed be the Good One, Who suddenly enriched our necessitousness and supplied our needs! Blessed He whose tender mercies made Him condescend to visit our infirmities!” – – St. Ephraim the Syrian

Blessing of the Gifts Around the Tree – Dec 24 & 25

Blessed be God in all his Glory   All reply: Now and for ever.

One of those present reads a text of sacred Scripture, from Titus 3:4-7

But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy,
he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

The Word of the Lord

Let Us Pray:

Holy Lord, we come with joy to celebrate the birth of your Son,
who rescued us from the darkness of sin  by making the cross a tree of life and light.

May the gifts under this tree, arrayed in splendor, remind us of the life-giving event of Christ’s birth, that we may always rejoice  in the new life that shines in our hearts.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Blessing the  Christmas Creche

Tonight we recall that Mary and Joseph have finally reached the destination. The animals gathered round, the angels hovered above heralding the joyous event. Now on this night we again enthrone the Christ Child in the place we have prepared for Him.

Great and good God we stand before you in wonder and awe.

Leader: We thank you for the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  Response: May this creche remind us that Jesus is with us always.

Leader: May all parents share the deep and pure love that Mary and Joseph felt for their child. Response: May this holy family inspire all familiess.

Leader: May all children know the joy of the shepherds, and the song of the angels. Response: Gloria in Excelsis Deo 

May we all praise the name of Jesus forever and ever. Amen

ED:  Once again we thank Fr Kevin Francis Donlon and the people of the Church of the Resurrection in Tampa, Florida, for these Meditations.

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