Christmas Readings: Isaiah 9.1-6; Titus 2. 11-14; Luke 2.1-20
Holy Family Readings: Genesis 15.1-6, 21.17-19; Hebrews 118, 11-12, 17-18; Luke 2.22, 39-40
There were shepherds living in the fields and keeping night watch over their flocks. An angel of the Holy One came suddenly upon them and said, “You have nothing to fear! I bring you good news of great joy to be shared by the whole people. For this day in David’s city a savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord. Let this be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. – Luke 2.8-12
Christmas celebrates the birth of a child, the ordinary event that puts mothers and dads in touch with the awesome, creative power of God in which they share. Their love for each other gives birth to a new being. This is what God is about — love giving birth, love creating.
The birth story in Luke’s gospel anticipates Jesus’ whole life and emphasizes his mission to people who are poor. Joseph can only find shelter among the animals in a stable. Mary gives birth there, wraps the baby in swaddling clothes, and places him in a manger where the animals feed. It is shepherds who find the child Jesus in the manger and become heralds of the messiah’s birth. We recognize with them Jesus is good news for the poor.
Like the holy family, many refugees, immigrants, and deportees today experience too little room for their families. Like finding shelter in a barn during a Roman census, they live in cramped camps awaiting legal status in a new country. We recognize in families at our border the call to be Jesus’ good news for them,
Many people today may identify with how unusual Jesus’ family is. His mother is not married when he is conceived. His mother’s husband is not Jesus’ real dad. His mother is a teenager. Our families have probably always been more diverse in form and less ideal than we remember them. Today we have regular nuclear families, blended families, single-parent families, grandparents raising children, partners adopting children. With the pandemic families face the challenges of doing school work at home but perhaps have new blessing in having more time together.
Who among us today needs the good news Jesus brings into our world? What is a strength your family has?