Today’s liturgy sets the stage for what we have been waiting for, the day of expectation is at hand. In our readings today we see the Divine Plan of Salvation unfolding. In our 1st reading the Lord confirms David as King under whom the chosen people would reach greatness, the Temple would be restored and Jerusalem would be rebuilt and from David’s lineage would come the Anointed One, the Messiah. In our 2nd reading St. Paul concludes his letter to the Romans with a summary of God’s plan of salvation, all people regardless of race are called to salvation by believing in Jesus Christ. He is the Anointed One, the Christ. In our Gospel passage, Mary is introduced into the Plan of Salvation as the channel through which God would come amongst His people true God and true Man, the turning point in history.
Most people are impressed with newness! We want new homes, new clothes, new cars etc. Whilst this interest in novelty may serve to stop us getting into a rut, it can also cause us to dig a hole for ourselves from which it is difficult to emerge. Living in a society in which one sector, business, with its glitzy advertising, continually encourages people to be the first with the latest, it is not surprising to find that for many, instead of being straightforward, life becomes a massive let-down. The celebration of Christmas is a classic example of this. People push themselves emotionally, physically and financially to be ready. May we ask “ready for what”?
The answer to that question only comes to us in the answer we give to another question “who is Christ”? At the heart of the Christian faith is the acceptance of Christ as the only individual who was both divine and human. In the person of Christ, we realise that God is not only the God who has acted in the past and acts in the present in history and sacrament; He is also God of the future who will, in due course, assess our acceptance or rejection of His invitation to be His disciples. The focal point, then, of Christmas, is to remind ourselves that Christ constantly brings to the human race a new chance for renewal; that Christ brings to each person, constantly, the opportunity to make a new beginning.
This understanding of Christ who is to come again “to judge the living and the dead” should help to revive in us the hope that supports us when depression sets in. The description of Christ as “the light of the world” should remind us that light cannot penetrate blacked-out windows; that it only penetrates in proportion to the clearness of the glass through which it shines.
We are the glass through which the light of Christ is to shine. Whether it is blacked-out, smudged or crystal clear depends on our response to Christ’s invitation to be His disciples. So, in these final days of preparation to celebrate Christmas, may others see our deeper vision of Christ reflected in the manner in which we celebrate.