25 December 2016
THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
Solemnity. White. Holyday of Obligation.
Vigil: Is 62: 1 – 5 / Acts 13: 16 -17, 22 –25 / Mt 1: 1-25
Midnight: Is 9: 1 – 6 / Ti 2: 11 – 14 / Lk 2: 1 – 14
Dawn: Is 62: 11 – 12 / Ti 3: 4 – 7 / Lk 2: 15 – 20
Day: Is 52: 7 – 10 / Heb 1: 1 – 6 / Jn 1: 1- 18
From the Gospel Reading at Midnight Mass: Lk 2: 6 – 7
They were in Bethlehem when the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger, because there was no place for them in the living room.
From the 2nd Reading at Day Mass: Heb 1: 1 - 3
God has spoken in the past to our ancestors through the prophets, in many different ways, although never completely; but in our times he has spoken definitively to us through his Son. He is the One God appointed heir of all things, since through him he unfolded the stages of the world, He is the radiance of God's Glory and bears the stamp of God's hidden being, so that his powerful word upholds the universe. And after taking away sin, he took his place at the right hand of the divine Majesty in heaven.
From the Gospel Reading at Day Mass: Jn 1: 9 - 14
For the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was already in the world and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him.
He came into his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but all who have received him he empowers to become children of God for they believe in his Name. These are born, but without seed or carnal desire or will of man: they are born of God.
And the Word was made flesh; he had his tent pitched among us, for we have seen his Glory, the Glory of the only Son, coming from the Father: fullness of truth and loving-kindness.
Christmas is the time for gift-giving. Whether at home or at work or in school, giving gifts during Christmas time is vey important. Parents seek to give what their children have longed to have. There are Christmas parties and exchange of gifts in the work-place. School children exchange gifts.
What does gift-giving mean? With the rise of consumerism there may be a tendency or temptation to look at the monetary value of the gift: What is its worth? How much did it cost? Where did it come from? DO I need it? Do I want it?
But this manner of evaluating gifts robs the gift of its meaning and power. A gift's essence does not rest on the object given.
This is what Swiss theologian Urs Von Balthasar writes in his book Elucidations, where it maintains that a gift is not so much about the object given but more about the giver who wishes to concretize his love for the beloved through a gift. Any object given as a gift serves only as a medium through which the giver's love for the beloved is expressed. A gift's purpose and meaning are simple: a gift is sign of the lover or gift-giver's love.
The gift is not the love of the lover or gift-giver but simply a representation of it. What is most important is not the object given, not the gift itself, but the love of the giver. The more the gift itself fades into the background, and the giver's love emphasized, the more effective is the gift.
Traditionally gifts are not opened until Christmas Day itself: if gifts are not so much about the object given but about the giver's love, then it is indeed fitting that gifts be opened on Christmas Day itself.
Because on Christmas Day God's gift pierces the core of all giving. By gifting us not with an object of whatever value but with his very self, God has indeed gifted us with the giver's love in crystallized form, love in its supreme and divine expression.
Today as we open the gifts given to us, may we focus more on the love for us expressed by the gift-givers through their gifts. And as we are grateful for the gifts received and the love of the givers, may our thanksgiving be anchored in thanksgiving to God who today gave us the greatest gift, his own Love in the person of his only Son.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
Gil, Nora Catalon and Family
Jun, Pollie Deza and Family
Roy, Marivi Flores and Family
Jeannette and Christopher Co Chan
Mary and Christopher Lim
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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