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“The people who walked in great darkness have seen a great light.”

God led the Israelite northern tribes from Assyrian rule: from sorrow to joy, from the yoke of oppression to freedom and liberation.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given us.”

The child is Immanuel. A descendant of King David. He is wise – “wonder-counselor”; faithful and courageous – “God-Hero”; caring and kind – “Father-forever”; a true leader – “Prince of Peace.”


This child has a universal mission, to: all lands, all people’s, all creation. His mission is to help his people to live the life of the Spirit with love of God and love for one another.

His message brings back hope, hope to people’s consciousness – for the present and for the blessed return of the Lord in glory. Hope for you and me.

We understand this child to be Jesus of Nazareth, Immanuel (God is with us). Born in Bethlehem. Of “the house and family of David.”

St. Luke takes our imagination on the journey with Joseph and Mary from their home in Nazareth to the “House of Bread” (Bethlehem) and the simplicity of Jesus’ birth.

Contemplation on the Birth of Jesus

Recall how Mary, pregnant almost nine months, set out with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the Census. Imagine the journey. One of 80 miles. Imagine the road. Consider the length of the trip and whether the road is level or winds through valleys and hills. Imagine their relief when they spy the town of Bethlehem in the distance.

Upon arrival, the couple face a disappointment. All the inns are full, because of the Census. One innkeeper tells them there is a cave nearby; perhaps they can find shelter there. Imagine the cave, how big it is. It seems a local farmer lets some of his animals find shelter in it. Be there with Mary and Joseph. You help Joseph ready the place for Mary.

In these simple surroundings, the Son of God is born.

You are there at his birth.

(Luke 2:1-14)

Many people have sought to describe this miracle of grace in order to grasp its deeper meaning. Here are two:


“The Holy Family”

Softly comes the gift of Christmas,
Silent stirrings sent through time.
Through the hush of midnight darkness
Floats the silvery soothing chime.

Long ago there lived a maiden,
Loved a strong man, good and true;
Met an angel; bore the Christ Child –
Joy for me and joy for you.

Midst the sounds of laughing, drinking,
Moves the strong man, calm and steady;
Moves the maiden, heart strings linking;
Moves the Christ Child lithe and ready.

Softly comes the gift of Christmas,
Born on snowflakes – carols – sighs;
Swiftly now my heart is beating,
Love and life and hope arise.

All is passing! Joy is lasting
Through the maiden – strong man –
And Child!
By Valerie A. Pearmain

“Moonless darkness stands between,
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him who freed me
From the self that I have been.


Make me pure, Lord: Thou art Holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always:
Now, begin, on Christmas Day.
By G. M. Hopkins


I’ll let Sister Joan Chittister conclude my reflections:
“Wherever Love is born-
It is Christmas.
May this Love unite us
With one another and
All creation.
Now, and in the New Year.”



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