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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he 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 into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
For me, Christmas is a day when a deep, quiet and warm sense of God’s providence and love for us underlies and carries our often hectic–and sometimes awkward– efforts to celebrate with family and friends.
St. Luke’s recounting of the birth of Jesus with angels singing “glory to God in the highest” might romanticize the actual experience of Mary and Joseph just a tad. When I hear this story, I can’t help but think of Linus recounting it at the end of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” Of course, there is lush, beautiful music accompanying that happy television ending to a hard day in the life of Charlie Brown with his less-than-perfect Christmas tree. But somehow I think that giving birth in a stable far away from home was not the way Mary and Joseph would have wanted to start their life with Jesus. But that’s okay.
None of our lives are perfect either. However and with whomever we celebrate with this day, whether with family or friends, however many or however few, let’s remember that Jesus came into this broken, yet beautiful world to heal it by unleashing the power of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. He offers that same power to each of us everyday. And that has made all the difference!
—Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ is the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit province of the Society of Jesus.
I am all at once what Christ is,since he was what I am, and/ This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,/ Is immortal diamond.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ