Monday, December 25, 2023
Luke 2: 15 - 20
We come in haste
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass at Dawn
For some of us, Advent seems like the fastest four weeks of the year. The month of Advent flies by, and suddenly, we’re standing over a manger, in shock and out of breath, like the shepherds in today’s Gospel for Mass at Dawn.
The reading today occurs just after the shepherds were visited by an angel who told them that a savior had been born for them, that he is the Messiah and Lord, and they could actually go and see him. When the army of angels showed up to celebrate the birth, that was enough to convince them, so they took off in a hurry, leaving their flock, to go and find Jesus.
Imagine simple shepherds racing to search Bethlehem’s barns and stables for the one manger holding an infant savior born for them. And they found him! Their excitement to have been given this message was palpable. “Listen to what we heard! We’re just shepherds! Why should this happen to us?” All the while looking on the baby, swaddled, and lying in the manger as they were told.
“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
She kept this moment, those shepherds, their excitement, wonder, and even obedience, in her heart. And not just to remember but to reflect. It all meant something; it all still means something.
Today, we have come “in haste” to the Nativity of the Lord. We have spent the last four weeks searching for the manger that holds the infant savior. We have heard angels proclaim his coming, witnessed signs that help us to believe, marveled at God’s power to do what seems impossible, and examined our hearts in preparation for this day.
Christmas Prayer by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of him who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord; Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord; Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
The celebration of Christmas is just beginning! Our Christmas Time starts today and goes through the Sunday after Epiphany. So, like the shepherds, we can continue “glorifying and praising God” for all we have seen and heard.