The Lord says this:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me
the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past,
to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them
till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.
Then the remnant of his brothers will come back
to the sons of Israel.
He will stand and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord,
with the majesty of the name of his God.
They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power
to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.
This is what Christ said, on coming into the world:
You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,
prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;
then I said,
just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the Lord
Christmas is coming in five days. How is your preparation for it? I do not mean the entire inventory of gifts that you would likely have gotten for friends and family. Or the pretty Christmas decorations in your home. Or the mouth-watering log cakes, turkeys and pies that await your taste buds. How do we greet the day when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Let us try to imagine a world without Jesus. Alright, that could be extremely challenging, as Christ has been changing the world ever since He entered it some two thousand odd years ago. As He himself had said, He came to fulfil the prophecies of old, and to show us the way to God’s kingdom.
Who are you waiting for this Christmas? To answer this question, it would be good to ask a related question, one that is often asked but yet always relevant – Who is Jesus to you? For me, I would always return to the gospel passage where Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman. In the depths of her shame and sins, Jesus reached out to her and found her desire for God. He guided her to look beyond herself and towards eternal life. In times of my own despair, doubts and fears, Jesus is my only help and guide. How about you? Who are you waiting for this Christmas?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for an open heart of love, gratitude and charity this Christmas.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for friends, families and loved ones who have always supported and encouraged us.