How beautiful on the mountains,
are the feet of one who brings good news,
who heralds peace, brings happiness,
and tells Zion,
‘Your God is king!’
Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices,
they shout for joy together,
for they see the Lord face to face,
as he returns to Zion.
Break into shouts of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord is consoling his people,
The Lord bares his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.
God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-Born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.
In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me
because he existed before me.’
Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received –
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.
“Through Him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through Him.”
Everything comes from God. This is easy to accept from a cocoon of comfort, earthly fulfilment, and perceived happiness. What is harder to fathom, are the hurts, disappointments, and injustice in our world that we have all come to experience over the course of our lives. Even Jesus was not spared from such trials, which shaped His life and being in preparation for His role as the “radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of His nature”.
Many times during my faith journey, I have asked our God who works wonders, to work miracles in my life. Many of my requests seemingly appeared unanswered, while God moulded and shaped me in His perfect ways, and perfect time; using me as His instrument. Just like how the prophets in the second reading, and John the Baptist did their part to prepare for Christ’s coming, we all serve God’s purposes for this earthly world in our unique way. This was not an easy realisation to arrive at, but rather was one forged in a crucible of prayer, meditation, reflection, and especially time with community.
For many, Christmas involves taking some well-deserved time off, and being with our communities of family and friends. During this holiday season however, many of us insulate ourselves from our trials, challenges, and difficult relationships only to have to face them head-on once the new year begins. We overindulge in food, drink, and superficial merriment, without truly acknowledging the healing we need and the brokenness within us. I’ve always asked myself if there is a better way to glorify God during this special season, while still celebrating the end of another year gone by. This year, I’ve decided to try something different and I invite you to join me.
Friends, let us take some time today to ponder on the events and people in our lives. The strokes of good luck, and the crosses that seem too heavy to bear, our hard-won successes, and catastrophic failures, the simple blessings, and the grating inconveniences. Our nearest and dearest, and the colleagues we barely tolerate, our childhood friends, and the new neighbours from abroad. Let us spend quality time building authentic relationships with the people God has called into our lives, and let us acknowledge God’s hand in every person and circumstance in our lives. Let us make this Christmas season a meaningful one that nourishes our hearts and minds, and not just our bodies.
May God fill us with the grace to accept His plans for us, just as He wove the haphazard events of His own son’s life into a tapestry of love that fills our hearts and homes from today until eternity.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Anonymous)
Prayer: Lord, we ask for the child-like faith to trust in you no matter what comes our way. Fill us with wonder and gratitude as we journey with you in this life.
Thanksgiving: Dearest Father, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything and everyone that you bring into our lives as you patiently nurture us to be instruments of your will.