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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

NAB

dec 24

Jesus has come to save us! Tonight we celebrate this “O Holy Night” in which Jesus really and truly comes to dwell among us. What a great event we celebrate tonight!

Christmas can be a hard time. Let’s be honest. It’s not really always “the most wonderful time of year.”

It can be, of course, because it is truly a time of great beauty, a time together with family, time of celebration of special traditions, and the great graces of this most mysterious event of the Incarnation.

But it can also be a very difficult or challenging time for many. Maybe your family is not so “put together” and you are just trying to “make it through the holidays” without any major blowups. Maybe you have experienced a great loss this year and the absence of your child, friend, or family member is excruciating as you go this time of celebrating without him and her. Maybe you feel a great loneliness and emptiness because it is yet another Christmas in which you are still single, and you are still searching for the ways in which you will give of yourself through your vocation. Maybe it’s financial stress, or illness, or the absence of loved ones that make it difficult for you to gleefully sing out that this is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

But that’s the point, ladies. This is what we are celebrating. Jesus has come to save us—in the midst of all that! He has come in the midst of all our sufferings, our wounds, traumas, fears, sin, brokenness, stress, irritations, heartbreak, and loss. And that’s why we can celebrate. Zechariah’s Benedictus summarizes it well, “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” This is what it is all about. The light is breaking for us. In God’s compassion, He’s come into our darkness and even into the sorrow and grief of death. He’s leading us and guiding us. He is giving us His peace.

Jesus has come to save us! We can truly say that this is “the most wonderful time of the year”! May we have hearts open to receive this Christchild, our Savior and King!

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or hurting, take a moment to step out in faith to RECEIVE this gift of Jesus’ presence that He gives today. Jesus comes to YOU! In all your pain and darkness. He comes to save you—to give you His peace and His joy.

Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. When she is not guiding the development of young children through Montessori methods, you can find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing in her journal. You can find out more about her here.

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