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CHRISTMAS by Fr. Linh

 

Christmas is the annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, celebrated on December 25th. The term appears early in Old English as ‘Cristes maesse’ and later ‘Christmas,’ meaning Mass of Christ.

 

We do not know the exact date of Christ’s birth. The early Christian Church chose December 25th as the common date upon which all Christians throughout the world would commemorate the birth of Christ. Part of the reason this date was chosen was that it was already a popular pagan holiday.

 

Centuries ago Christian converts were under serious pressure to maintain their pagan attachments because of cultural and social traditions. The Church understood this pressure and sought to take over from pagan traditions with ones that gave glory to the true Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Before Jesus was born, many people who did not know about the true God worshiped false gods, idols. They had holidays for their idols. After Jesus came, the Church wanted all Christians to have a special day to remember and celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

 

They chose the same day as one of the pagan festivals as a way to show that Jesus Christ is the only true God and that His birthday is more important than anything having to do with an idol. Choosing that day for Christmas is sort of like a picture of how God deals with people.

 

When people do not believe in God, they are like the pagans and nothing they do pleases God. When they become Christians and love Jesus, the Holy Spirit transforms them into people who please God.

 

Saint Anthony of Padua talked about the mystery of the Incarnation as follows, “The Son came out from the Father to help us to come out from the world; he descended to us to enable us to ascend to him.”

 

The story is told of Shah Abbis, a Persian monarch who loved his people very much. To know and understand them better, he would mingle with his subjects in various disguises.

 

One day he went as a poor man to the public baths and in a tiny cellar sat beside the fireman who tended the furnace. When it was mealtime the monarch shared his coarse food and talked to his lonely subject as a friend. Again and again he visited and the man grew to love him.

 

One day the Shah told him he was the monarch, expecting the man to ask some gift from him. But the fireman sat gazing at his ruler with love and wonder and at last spoke, “You left your palace and your glory to sit with me in this dark place, to eat of my coarse food, to care whether my heart is glad or sorry. On others you may bestow rich presents, but to me you have given yourself, and it only remains for me to pray that you never withdraw the gift of your friendship.”

 

This beautiful story reminds us that Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, left the glories of heaven in order to share himself with us. That gift of his love and friendship will never be withdrawn from us. He chose to be your friend and mine forever.

 

Here are some scriptural verses for you to ponder over the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God  

 

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

 

Isaiah 9:6 – For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

 

Luke 1:31 – Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.

 

John 1:14 – 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.

 

Romans 8:3 – For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.

 

Philippians 2:7 – Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance.

 

1 Timothy 3:16 – Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.

 

1 John 4:2 – This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh be longs to God,

 

God came to earth as a baby and grew up like us. He did this so that he could take the punishment for our sins. Thank you, God!

 


This article was published on Thursday 23 December, 2010.

Back to main topic: STUDY THE WORD OF GOD
ADULTERY
THIS POOR WIDOW PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS
CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY
YOU SAY I AM A KING
BASILICAS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND
GOD’S PROMISES IN ADVENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF ECUMENISM
WE NEED ADVENT!
WE SAW HIS STAR AT ITS RISING AND HAVE COME TO DO HIM HOMAGE
EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US!
THE BLIND BOY AND HIS SIGN
EPIPHANY
WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED
ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
GOD KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS BORN
GOD IS LOVE
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
“THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME.”
THE LAST EIGHT DAYS IN THE ADVENT SEASON
HIS PARENTS FOUND JESUS SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS.
MARY – “MOTHER OF GOD”
WHETHER THE BLESSED VIRGIN SHOULD BE CALLED THE MOTHER OF GOD?
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
WHETHER THE BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS FROM GOD
WHETHER IT WAS FITTING FOR CHRIST TO BE BAPTIZED WITH JOHN’S BAP
JESUS TURNS WATER TO WINE

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