The Nativity of the Lord (Mass during the day)
(Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18)
Sometimes it seems that Christmas was invented for children. It provides them with the myth of Santa Claus so that they know that others care for them. Christmas also stimulates children’s imaginations with stories of angels, shepherds, and kings coming to visit one even smaller than they.
To more tough-nosed observers, Christmas seems made for the economy. They know that “Black Friday” does not refer to the day Christ died, but to the day after Thanksgiving when retailers start accruing profits. These viewers realize that without Christmas sales there would be fewer goods to purchase, fewer people employed, and a simpler lifestyle for most.
We might ask ourselves if satisfying children’s need for love and boosting the economy are all that Christmas is about, why bother with it? Hearing children whine because they did not receive a gift that they ordered makes one wonder if they need discipline not indulging. Diverting economic resources to the superfluity of Christmas shopping also has a downside. It leaves less capital for much greater necessities like education and health care.
But, of course, Christmas – no matter how much the message is distorted – has a much deeper purpose. It recalls the event that brings ultimate meaning and hope to a world shrouded in darkness. It announces that the Creator has come to correct the blunders that his most accomplished creatures have made. He is the light that shines through the darkness of hatred. He is the life that overcomes depression and death. He is the Word who speaks to each of us that we are loved more than we can ever imagine, more than we can ever deserve.