The First Nowell- Intentions and Thoughts on Christmas Day

25 Dec

Firstly, I’d like to wish anyone reading this a Merry Christmas.

Mass this morning was beautiful, as Mass always is (especially Christmas Mass). The priest’s homily reminded me of a special connection between Christmas and Easter.

In an earlier post, I wrote about the Annunciation, where Mary received the joyful news of the conception of Jesus within her and said “yes” to God’s miracle. She said “yes” without even understanding fully what was to take place. But she trusted God so deeply anyway.

At the Annunciation, the messenger angel Gabriel delivers the news to Mary that she is to bear a son. Again on this Christmas morning, we heard that in the distance some nodescript shepherds were again visited by an angel. The shepherds were afraid, but their fears were calmed by the angel. They were told of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem. These shepherds were to find an equally nondescript baby (at least in appearance) lying in a humble manger. So the shepherds set off, not knowing fully what to expect on the journey but trusting in God. (cf. Luke 2:8-15)

Likewise, in the darkness and fear after the death of Christ, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women who accompanied them to Jesus’ tomb, were again comforted by an angel of the Lord:

“Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he is risen” (Luke 24:5-6)

The women then went joyfully to relay the news to the Apostles.

Christ, in our priest’s words, was visited by shepherds while lying in a borrowed manger. He was buried after His death in a borrowed tomb. Both instances emphasize Christ’s humble humanity. As humans, whether we are rich, poor, famous or not, we are called to Christ-like humility. We are called to treat the least of Christ’s family members with the same care, compassion, kindness, mercy, and justice as those who are more fortunate. This is how Christ expects us to be Easter people. (I remember the phrase “Be Easter people” being repeated many times by a Sri Lankan Jesuit who served in our parish about 10 years ago who was small in stature but large in spirit.) We remember Christmas by being Easter people, because these two most important feast days are interconnected. The same message can be gathered from the Nativity as from Christ’s Passion. It’s as if an angel is speaking to us…

With that, I’d like to post a few prayer intentions, inspired by the Christmas homily given today at the Vatican.

Pray for all children, born and unborn.

Pray for peace, especially in the Middle East and in Darfur. Christmas was properly celebrated at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for the first time in five years. Let us pray that peace and stability continues to be strengthened there. And let us pray for troops still in conflicts worldwide.

Pray for understanding and dialogue between different cultures and religions.

Pray for those affected by natural disasters.

Pray for scientists, philosophers, clergy, and other professionals, so that they may use their knowledge to the glory of God.

Pray for the Church, that she may convey accurately Christ’s truth that she has been entrusted with.

Pray for those in captivity, either in prison, in nursing homes, or in other places where they feel shut in, that they may still feel the power of God- Emmanuel- present to them and in them.

I would appreciate any other prayer intentions by anyone reading this article.

Emmanuel…God is with us.
In Christ’s name we pray,
Amen.

Merry Christmas!
Joyeux Noël!
Feliz Navidad!

WRS

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