READINGS (from midnight mass)
God created the world out of love, but the world failed Him and plunged itself into misery, yet, out of love, God sent his Son to show us a way out. In anticipation for the coming of Christ the Son of God Isaiah prophesied:
"The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.... for there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulder... and his name shall be called: Wonder-counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-peace." (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Man's failure to obey Gods commands brought darkness into the world. From the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God light disappeared and darkness became the worlds ruler. The world was left in misery, suffering and death. God, at the time, used Prophets to give hope to His people. From Moses to John the Baptist. The world started hearing of the coming of a saviour. Prophesies were made, announcements were heard - the redeemer is coming. The world waited, patiently they waited and today, God, not only fulfilled his promise but He chose to come in human form - Jesus, through human instrument - Mary and Joseph.
(painting by Donald Shaw for www.stmarysbeauly.org)We heard this in the Gospel of Luke 2:1-14, the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophesy, the angel appeared to the shepherds and said to them: "Do not be afraid! Listen; I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." This was the first announcement made after Jesus was born and it was to draw witnesses to the reality of God's presence in the world.
A brief reflection on the personality and qualities of Jesus according to Isaiah will help us to understand more the reason for our Joy this season.
He is the light: Light will always overshadow darkness. "No one lights a lamp and hides it under a butshell" that means that Christs light will never be hidden. It will shine for both the good and the bad, Jews and gentiles alike and He shall remain unquenchable.
He shall be called:
Wonder-counsellor: Literally, "wonder of a counselor," and the word wonderful means "extraordinary, marvelous and beyond the normal capacity to perform." In other words, the counsel of this God-man transcends human wisdom. He doesn't need or want my counsel or any other's.
Mighty-God: Literally, this title is "the heroic, strong God." This child is God, the Second Person of the Trinity and possessor of all the power of God. In a word, He is omnipotent.
Eternal-Father: Could also mean "Father-Forever." Jesus will be a father to us in the best of ways - loving, self-sacrificing, always looking out for our best. Psalm 103:13: As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. Fatherly compassion from the king-Jesus will never come to an end. He is forever our Father!
Prince-of-peace: He will over-match all His enemies, He will conquer the hearts of His people, He will start something as a child that "...will never stop growing"( v.7)and He will do all this without brute force, but by disarming His enemies and bringing peace.
With the knowledge of these qualities and many more uncountable ones, we are therefore called to participate in Christs redeeming actions by "give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus!"
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!
May our sorrows in 2016 turn to joy in 2017!
Fr. James Anyaegbu
I remember in my prayers all the homeless and internally displaced citizens in our world, for all the children suffering in Nigeria and the middle east and for the sick who are in need of Joy!