The Nativity of Jesus Christ our Lord (2016)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Kingdom of God is revealed in the birth of Jesus Christ.  That is what is at the heart of the Christmas story, and is the focus of the Church’s celebration of Christmas.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  (1 John 1:1-3)

The apostles proclaim to us what they saw, heard and touched – the Kingdom of God present in this world in Jesus Christ.  We too can encounter this same Kingdom:

Hear it – in the: carols, hymns, Gospel, mirth and joy of the Feast

See it – in the:  icons, the Church, your brothers and sisters, generous charity of the season, giving and receiving of gifts

Touch it  – in the: body of Christ the church,  body and blood of the Euchartist, all the surroundings of the church and even in nature itself

Taste It –  in the: Holy Communion, bread, wine, the festal meal

Smell it –  in the: incense, pine needles, baking, cooking

Feel it – in the: love of family and friends, the beauty of the Feast

All we do and have at Christmas is a way to rejoice in the Lord, to proclaim His Kingdom and to experience His love for us and our love for one another.

We experience the Kingdom of God in and through:

Our Body – physically, materially

Our Heart not just our ears

Our Mind not just with our eyes.

In the Church, in our liturgical celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, we join those shepherds, who not only heard about the Nativity, but who said:

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”   (Luke 2:15)

We fully experience the incarnate God.  We don’t just hear about Christ, we enter into Him in Baptism, receive Him into our hearts in Communion, and stand together in His presence in the Liturgy.  We enter His Kingdom and He comes and lives in our hearts and our homes.

Christ is born!  Glorify Him!

May you be blessed this Christmas by our Savior.  Have a safe and holy Nativity Feast and a blessed and peaceful New Year.

 

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