Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Christ-Mass Story
Once upon a time there was living in a village called Nazareth in Palestine a Maiden named Mary, and she loved God more than anything else in the world. She was engaged to a carpenter called Joseph, who also loved God above all things. And one day God sent one of His great Archangels – Saint Gabriel – to see Mary. And this is what he said to her: ‘Hail, Mary! Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.’ And he went on to tell her that God was going to give her a Son, Who should be called the Son of God; and His Name was to be JESUS, because He should save His people from their sins. And Mary said, ‘How shall this be?’ Saint Gabriel said, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.’ That means: ‘I am God’s servant, so He can do with me what He thinks best.’
Saint Gabriel knelt before Our Lady because she was now the Mother of Jesus Who is God, and then he went from her.
Mary went at once to see her cousin Elizabeth, because she too was to have a son, who was to tell people about Jesus when they were both grown up; his name was to be John, Saint John the Baptist. When Mary arrived, Saint Elizabeth said, ‘Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb’ (that means ‘blessed is your Child’). So now you know where the first part of the Hail Mary comes from. Christians created the second half a few years later.
Some months afterwards Mary and Joseph, her Protector, had another messenger, and it was not an Angel this time. It was someone who came from King Herod to say that everyone must go to his own town to be counted. When that sort of thing happens nowadays we call it a census. Now, Joseph belonged to the Royal House of David, although he was only a poor carpenter, and his special city was Bethlehem. There he went, taking Mary with him. After a very long and tiring journey – they probably had to walk – they found the city very full. There was no room for them in the inn.
At last, seeing how tired and poor they looked, someone took pity on Mary and Joseph and said, ‘I’ve got no room in my house, but there is a stable cave out at the back where the animals are; if you like you can rest there on the straw.’ There, among the dumb animals Joseph made Mary as comfortable as he could. And then in the silence of the night the most wonderful thing since the beginning of the world happened: Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, was born. Saint Joseph, the Foster-Father, knelt by Blessed Mary’s side and worshipped the Holy Babe.
He was hungry and cold; He cried like other babies. The only place where He could lie was in the manger where the cattle usually had their food – although He was God the Son.
He was the King of all kings, and might have been born in a palace with lots of people all knowing about His coming, with everything to make Him comfortable. But no, God wanted Him to be poor, to be born in a stable, to have no comforts and very few people to know about it. Why? Surely because He had come to make up for our sins. He had to suffer for them, and He started to suffer right at the beginning of His life.
There were shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their flocks that night. And the Angel of the Lord came to them and told them, ‘Go quickly to Bethlehem, for there is born to you a Saviour, Christ the Lord.’ And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly Host of Angels praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.’ The shepherds had been looking forward and hoping that God would send the promised Saviour quite soon. So when the Angels had gone from them they wasted no time, but came with haste and found the place; and they found Mary, and Joseph, and theBabe lying in a manger. Of course, they did what we should have done: fell on their knees and worshipped their Lord and their God.
We expect they offered Him some small presents on His birthday – they were very poor, so they could not afford much – like the kings who came with their Gold, Incense and Myrrh later on. But we are sure they gave what they could. Perhaps they gave some lamb’s wool to keep the Baby warm, and some milk, and some bread as well.
But the greatest Christmas present and the most valuable was their love. And we can always give Him that as well. It is our love which makes the Babe of Bethlehem radiant with joy.
For Thy first coming as a little Child,
For Thy last coming to judge the world,
For Thy coming into our hearts now by Grace,
Praise and glory be to Thee, O Christ.
Let us come with grateful hearts to adore and receive Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of His true Body and Blood born out of love for us men and for our salvation, on the Feast of His Nativity: Tuesday 24th December at 7pm and 10pm and Wednesday 25th December at 10am.
May the Incarnate Lord Jesus, true God and Son of Mary, bless and keep you!
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