Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Reflection

A Friend of mine sent me this; thank you Chris:

Dear Family and Friends,

As we try to get through all the “hoopla” that has become the Christmas season, I wanted to share with you a reminder of the true reason for the season. This reason is not found in a mall, in a present under a tree or on the internet. It is found in Jesus Christ: the Incarnation of God, the fulfillment and joy of all the prophets, the long-awaited Messiah. He truly is the Firstborn of all creation. Amen.
The following passage was written over eighty years ago but it is sorely needed for all people during these busy days.

“The Sufferings of Jesus Began with His Birth”

The Son of God became Man to suffer for us, to make satisfaction for our sins, and to redeem us from sin and hell.
All His life He suffered unspeakably for us, and His sufferings began with His Birth. He came into the world in a state of the utmost poverty and humility. For the Son of God to take to Himself human nature at all would have been an infinite humiliation, even had He been born in a royal palace, and laid at His birth on silken cushions, in a golden cradle. But He wished to humble Himself still more, and therefore was born into the world in a poor stable, and laid in the rudest of cribs.
The Lord of the universe, the son of David, of whose kingdom there was to be no end, could find no home in the city of David! Shut out from the dwellings of man, rejected by human society, He was driven to find refuge among the beasts, and, wrapped in the coarsest of swathing bands, was laid in a manger belonging to the shepherds. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).
He had no comfortable little bed, no soft, warm pillow. His tender body lay on the hard straw, in a narrow crib, and was exposed to the damp, raw winter-air. A piece of wood at His Birth and a piece of wood at His Death, that was all that Jesus received from this world!
Truly the Divine Infant was poorer than the poorest child! Our Lord chose for Himself this extreme poverty and humility to make satisfaction even from His Birth for our many sins of pride, for our concupiscence of the eyes and of the flesh, and to give to us an example of humility, self-denial and mortification. Man fell by pride, desiring what was impossible, namely to be as God, and his fall was so deep that he fell into the bondage of Satan and the concupiscence of the eyes and of the flesh, and into sins and crimes of the basest description.
In order to free us from sin and hell, God the Son became Man, and was like to us in all things, sin only excepted, so that we might become once more the children of God. He humbled Himself that we might be exalted. He became poor that we might be rich in grace here, and richer still some day in heaven.
Let us thank Him as we kneel before His crib, and renounce all pride, all avarice, and fleshly desires!

From A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture
pp. 399-400
by Bishop Frederick Justus Knecht, D.D.
first published in 1923

And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother. And falling down they adored him. And opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

John was in the desert, baptizing and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins.
And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
Mark 1:4, 7

And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear.
And the angel said to them: Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people:
For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.
Luke 1:9-14

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

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