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The Nativity of the Lord

First 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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Second 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.

NAB

dec 25 (1)

When this month’s assignments arrived in my inbox, I noted that somehow, some way, I get to write to you on Christmas. My first thought was “Is anyone online on Christmas Day?” My next thought was, “Christmas! Jackpot! I get Christmas!”

Really, is there a better day at all? Okay, maybe Easter, but it’s close and Easter wasn’t in the running.

So, Merry Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word . . . John . . . came to testify to the Light . . . we have received grace in place of grace . . . .

This is the Gospel. The great, glorious, most beautiful Gospel of the day. The Word. Read it again. Close your eyes. Let it soak it in.

His light and grace are yours; they are His gift to you.

Go testify to the Light. There’s a good chance you’re tired. There’s a good chance your nerves are fraying. There’s a good chance you are in need of the promises of the Savior. Guess what? You are just the person He wants to bring light and joy to this day. You are the very instrument of grace in His perfect plan. You—weary before the day even began—you are His messenger.

Pray for grace. He’ll shower you with it today. Grace in place of grace. And you will grant that grace with light to everyone you meet.

Now, turn off your computer. Quiet your phone.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn, sing joyfully before the King! Right there, in your own sweet Bethlehem.

God bless your Christmas.

In the chaos and commotion that come with Christmas, shine the light of the Lord’s love on the people He has chosen for you today. Look at them. Hear their stories. Hold the small faces in your cupped hands. Intertwine the weathered fingers with your own. Take your time. It’s not yours, you know. Time is really His. Use it well. Testify to His light with your own peaceful sweetness. Even when it’s hard, even when you’re fatigued, testify to the Light.

Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here

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