Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We begin the season of Christmas, not with the great mass of Christmas, which is next Sunday, but with a simple service of prayer and adoration. Because in this way the Lord came on Christmas Eve, simple and humble. Not with great clamor. The press did not pay attention, nor the social networks. Only some sheep herders in the field.
Here is a representation of the first Christmas that is called a manger scene in Venezuela. Luz Maria and I discovered in Peru it is called a "mystery". Truly it is a mystery, the mystery of the Incarnation. The Word that created heaven and earth was made flesh, says Saint John, and lived among us. The Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, existed before the creation of the world, but as we confess in the creed, He came down from heaven to be born of the Virgin Mary. He laid aside his power and glory to be laid in a manger.
Our reading of the Old Testament (Isaiah 9:27), prophesied of this child: "The government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. " For a child to be called these names means He is equal to God the Father Almighty.
This representation of the birth of Jesus is traditional. In truth, the scene was probably different. In our text we read that Mary "gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Well, where does Luke speak of a stable like this? We think today that in that culture, each house with two floors or more had a room dedicated to guests, and many times the owner of the house would rent the room to those who wanted to pay him. This was what constituted an inn. So, Joseph and Maria arrived at the house where Joseph arranged for his visit, but the room was full of others, possibly from Joseph's family because Bethlehem was his hometown. The hosts searched for space on the first floor. Another difference between the culture of the ancient Middle East and today: animals such as sheep and kids were often kept in the house in the winter. That is why the space for Josť and Maria was with the animals.
However, the point for us does not change. The Savior of the world was born in humble circumstances. He did not win the attention of the cameras or the journalists, only common men because of an angel.
"And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord encompassed them with brightness; and they were very afraid. But the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you; You will find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. "
Another difference between our representation and the truth: The Magi did not arrive on the same nights as the shepherds. They arrived more or less two years later. The revelation of Christ came first to the people Israel and not to the powerful or wise people, but to ordinary men.
But, in the visit of the Magi, the prophecy was fulfilled that one day the kings and sages of all nations would recognize Jesus as King of kings. And look at the situation today. Christmas is celebrated in all parts of the world and the history of the world is divided into the years before Christ and those after Christ.
But, although many people recognize Christmas as an important event, very few understand its true meaning. When the wise men came to Jerusalem, looking for the Messiah, King Herod told them, I want to worship this child too. But his motive was to kill him, because he only understood the threat to his power. And this pattern continues. The rich, the powerful and the wise recognize Christmas as something important, but they do not recognize Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. They reject Jesus or take his name in vain, saying to be faithful to Christ is to support their earthly kingdom.
On the contrary, for us, a small group gathered before the parties of the night and the great mass of Christmas, that night of calm and peace was the beginning of the mission of Jesus to suffer and die for us and win for us the promise of eternal life in his resurrection. This is more important than hallacas and ham bread, although these things are good. We recognize the true meaning of Christmas is that of God among us in the Incarnation. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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