Tag Archives: Nativity

Year A – Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord – Vigil Mass – December 24, 2013

Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29 (R/.2a); Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matthew 1:1-25 or 1:18-25

ImageReaders often dread the long list of names in this Gospel.  Name after name after name – strange names, foreign to us, flowing together in a litany evoking and ancient world.  But if one takes time reading them, even proclaiming them, as if you were reading a roll call of one’s own ancestors, on begins to realize that each name is to be honored.  Each is a son or a daughter (five interesting women are mentioned.)  Each was part of Israel’s history, Jesus’ history, salvation history. God was at work in each of these lives.

Matthew’s genealogy also implies that Jesus did not come from a perfect family; but a family of sinners.  That is not to say the Jesus or Mary were with sin; rather Jesus’ ancestors in the lines of Abraham and David, through fourteen generations after the Babylonia exile (560 years after the death of Amel-Marduk, the king of Babylon – in Jewish tradition, one generation was the equivalent of 40 years.)  Like Jesus’ ancestors, we too are not perfect.  We are sinners, and we welcome Jesus into our human family.

The story of Joseph concludes the genealogy with the angel’s command that Joseph name the child born of Mary and the Holy Spirit.  The name to be given is Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins.”  Tonight, we begin our Christmas celebration remembering that the Son of God, our Savior, was born into our human family.

What does it mean to you to have Jesus in your family and, by Baptism, to be in his?

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How December 25 Became Christmas

ImageChristmas is coming, along with many atheistic notions that the reason we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is so that it coincides with a Roman Pagan holiday.  This, however, is not true.

Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.  March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.  Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year.  Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.

Read on here for more…

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