Chicorica Luminarias, Raton, New Mexico
A reading of the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."The dawn from on high. The fulfillment of the Old Testament - was right there, in John the Baptist and Jesus. No wonder we celebrate this day!
Of all days in the year, second maybe to Easter Sunday, I love Christmas Eve. When a child, I was taught about the birth of Jesus. In my mind, it was all tangled up with Santa Claus and presents and trees and lights. But I knew that Jesus was the real deal. The rest of it was transient. Oh, that is not to say that I didn't like it, because I certainly did!
In our home, all those years ago, Santa brought the Christmas tree as well as the gifts. My poor over-worked mother worked like a slave to get all this stuff done, while my father sat in a chair drinking bourbon. My older brothers would take me out for a "drive" after dinner on Christmas Eve, ostensibly to look at the Christmas lights - which weren't on for more than a few days back then. They did not go up just after Halloween and stay up for 2 months! When we got home we would discover that Santa had been there! We had a Christmas tree, all aglow, with presents beneath it! What magic for a child to see. We would open gifts and then hurriedly get ready for midnight mass. We would bundle off to mass, oh it was glorious.
This morning I have gifts to wrap, a pie to bake, and a potato dish to assemble, complete with a beautiful cheese sauce. My daughter, (the one you have been praying for - thank you!) will come over later and we will go purchase her gift from me - a new smart phone. Last night she posted on facebook that she thanked God she was no longer using drugs. You know, I have spent a lot of time around addicts and alcoholics and I just have never heard that kind of language from someone who is still using. So today, I shall just go ahead and believe her. We will go to my son's house for dinner. Well, we will be helping to cook dinner since my son is now on crutches due to a torn meniscus. He cannot even take care of their tiny baby. Oh, I can help there!
And all day, I shall keep ever present in my mind, the image of Our Lord as an infant. God loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten son. Born in a manger.