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Saturday, December 25, 1999

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Birth of Jesus

Isaiah 9:1-6 (Midnight Mass readings)
Titus 2:11-14
Psalm 96
Luke 2:1-14

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i believe in christmas

"She gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodged."—Luke 2:7

As we begin the Christmas season and the Great Jubilee, we are full of hope. The Lord promises that our vindication will shine forth like the dawn and our "victory like a burning torch" (Is 62:1). We are "a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem held" by our God (Is 62:3). "The Lord delights in" us (Is 62:4). "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Is 9:1). We "have nothing to fear!" (Lk 2:10) "A Savior has been born to (us), the Messiah and Lord" (Lk 2:11).

With these wonderful promises ringing in my ears, I walked out of my inner-city apartment on Christmas morning. The first things I saw were empty wine and beer bottles on the pavement. Then I saw a woman lying on the ground in subfreezing weather. She was half-undressed and bleeding. When I tried to wake her, she did not respond. I wasn't sure if she was injured, intoxicated, or insane. One of our parishioners called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. She was not in serious condition physically, although she was traumatized.

On that Christmas morning, God's promises and what some people call "real life" seemed to contradict. Was I to believe what I saw or what I heard? I found the answer to my question in Psalm 12:7: "The promises of the Lord are sure, like tried silver, freed from dross, sevenfold refined." I believe in all the Lord's Christmas promises. I believe in Christmas. I believe in Christ the Lord.

Prayer:  Father, by faith may I move mountains this Christmas (Mt 17:20). Jesus, on this Your birthday celebration, I give You the present of my whole life forever. Holy Spirit, come!

Promise:  "The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all." —Ti 2:11

Praise:  "Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests" (Lk 2:14).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999