24 Dec


(A biblical reflection on the NATIVITY OF THE LORD – Saturday, 25 December 2021)

Second Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6

First Reading: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalms: Psalm 98:1-6; Gospel Reading: John 1:1-18

The Scripture Text

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, who He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of power. When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee”? Or again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:1-6 RSV)

The greatest gift you have is your life. But this gift is also a mystery, something that we can’t completely figure out on our own. How do you unwrap a mystery? The answer is found wrapped in a manger, in the mystery of the One who is fully God and fully man. As we unwrap the mystery of Jesus’ life, the mystery of our own lives will make more and more sense.

Scripture tells us that from all eternity, Jesus, the Word, was with God, and that He was God (John 1:1). The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But why did He choose to come among us? A clue is found in His name, Yeshua, which means “God saves.” In Jesus, God has come among us to save us, to rescue us.

From what did Jesus come to save us? From the death that entered the world when our first parents embraced the lies and envy of the devil (Wisdom 2:23-24). We were created to become like Jesus in all His purity and holiness, but because of sin, our vision became clouded. Restlessly, we search for what might increase our happiness and satisfy the desires of our hearts. But we pursue narrow goals. We strive to fill our lives with meaning and still do not feel complete. There, resting in the manger, is the “Bread of Life,” the only one who can satisfy our hunger.

What does it mean? Take a moment to think of all that this infant child of Bethlehem means. His coming among us as man is the fulcrum of all God’s action, the center from which all His blessings flow out to us. Imagine: If God had only created us in His image, that would have been enough. If He had only sent us His word through the prophets, that would have been enough. If He had only come among us to comfort us and teach us a new way to live, that would have been enough. If He had only forgiven our sins, that would have been enough. If he had only sent His Spirit to guide the Church, that would have been enough. But God has done all these things and more. He has given us Christ Himself to live in our hearts. He has promised us that Jesus will return to take us into His glory.

In the incarnation of His Son, God restored every blessing we forfeited when we fell into sin. From the very beginning, the Son of God was destined to be the source and goal of our lives. In love, God made us like Himself, with the powers of intellect, emotion, and will. In love, He placed within us a hunger for Himself. How could He help but do everything in His power to satisfy that hunger – even to the point of sacrificing His only Son for our sake?

This is a day of great rejoicing, for our destiny has been restored! As we look into the manger, we see innocence, purity, and divine life. This seemingly vulnerable child is the way of our salvation. He died for our sins, was raised for our justification, and will come again to judge the living and the dead. In a sense, the manger is a mirror of our lives, for there we see the glorious power of the indestructible life that God has intended for all of us.

What do you see when you look at the manger? Has your heart thrilled to the good news that this Child has restored you to God? Do you see your greatest Christmas gift here? He has come to give you divine life. Hold Him in your heart. Ask Him to warm your heart. Accept this gift humbly and gratefully. This is the gift that conquers death. This Child is the hope of glory for all of us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life, and for the gift of Your Son in whom we have eternal life. By Your Holy Spirit, reveal to us the treasures held in the mystery of incarnation. Move us to love today, even if we do not feel like loving. Teach each and every one of us to live like this Child, who teaches us that to give is to receive. Amen.

Jakarta, 24 December 2021

A Christian Pilgrim


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