Vigil: Is 62: 1-5/ Ps 89: 4-5. 16-17. 27. 29 (2a)/ Acts 13: 16-17. 22-25/ Mt 1: 1-25.
Midnight: Is 9: 1-6/ Ps 96: 1-2. 2-3. 11-12. 13/ Ti 2: 11-14/ Lk 2: 1-14.
Dawn: Is 62: 11-12/ Ps97: 1. 6. 11-12/ Ti 3: 4-7/ Lk 2: 15-20.
1st Reading: Isaiah 52:7–10
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!” Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.
2nd Reading: Hebrews 1:1–6
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”? Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
Gospel: John 1:1–18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
JESUS DISPELS DARKNESS: In some countries, the supply of electricity is not so reliable. A person could be having a good house, but when evening comes, he or she becomes a sad person because he or she is not sure whether the electricity supply will last the whole night. Should there be a disruption of electricity supply, then thieves come out. Thieves come to break into people’s houses terrifying and stealing their property. Jesus is born among people as a light shining in darkness. Human beings are covered by the darkness of sin. The only one who can dispel that darkness is Jesus. Jesus shines in the darkness of sin to help people to come out of sin, so that their actions may be ones that are pleasing in the sight of God. A person benefits from Jesus’ light only if he or she is ready to be illuminated by him. Being illuminated by Jesus helps a person to move away from the darkness of sin. A person who is not ready to be illuminated by Christ the light cannot celebrate Christmas. Only those who receive the light of Christ can celebrate Christmas because their actions are done in the light; a sign that they are with Christ.
Prayer: May all people walk in your light Lord.
JESUS IS EMMANUEL: Emmanuel has come to bring us Good News that he is going to restore our life and release us from sin. He will restore our relationship with God, and will be our comforter during difficulties and challenges. Jesus is going to make us “priests of the Lord” by making it possible for us to minister to our God (Isa 62: 1-6). Hence, we celebrate the birth of Jesus because he is the bearer of glad tidings which we have been longing for. The glad tidings can only be beneficial to us if we act like Joseph. It was beyond his knowledge how the birth of Jesus would be for his family, but he accepted the Lord’s command through the angel (Matt 1:24). Joseph’s faith led him trust God. Do we have such like faith, that leads us to Jesus Emmanuel (God with us)?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to believe that you are true God and true man.
BESIDE GOD, WE CAN BATTLE THE DEMONS WITHIN: The Prince of peace is here. So, a tumult of joy and sound of festivity is the result. “For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor you have broken as on the day of Midian” (Is 9 :4). Israel rejoices that their blood-stained history and their story of slavery become a thing of the past. The prophet attempts to usher in a glorious age. When the narcissistic addiction of people, finally lead to their destruction, the self-effacing presence of the Babe of Bethlehem will work to reverse this trend. As if an antidote to the dare all, bare all attitude of the selfie culture of today, the redeemer makes his appearance in an obscure manger uncelebrated by the “civilized world”. The true sense of Christmas is when the guiding star has disappeared from the sky, when the wise men got back to their kingdoms, when the chorus of angels has died down, when the shepherds are back in the fields tending their sheep and when the trail of visitors at the manger has ended. Let us not confine the spirit of Christmas to a single day. Let us take the joy and warmth of the day to all the days of the year.
CHILDREN OF GOD, CHILDREN OF LIGHT: Before the Word of God took flesh and dwelt among us, we lived in darkness. After Jesus took flesh and was born by Mary, he changed the lives of all those who accepted him. They became children of God, children of light. In Jesus, God became one with humanity. All who accepted Jesus became adopted children of God; brothers and sisters of Jesus. This was made possible because the Son of God accepted to take up our human flesh, was born like us, and lived amongst us. Therefore, the birth of Jesus enables us to come out of darkness and be God’s children. How can we thank God for sending his only Son, and for enabling that we become children of God? Let us involve ourselves in activities that give him praise. May we cease focusing only on ourselves, seeking personal gratification. If this is what we have done in previous Christmas celebrations, what do we plan to do differently this Christmas so that the focus goes to God and not to ourselves?