25 December – Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord (Mass at Dawn)
This the Lord proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look,
your saviour comes,
the prize of his victory with him,
his trophies before him.’
They shall be called ‘The Holy People’,
‘the Lord’s Redeemed.’
And you shall be called ‘The-sought-after’,
When the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.
When the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.
“It was no reason except His own compassion that He saved us”
As the year drew to a close, I did a 7-day silent retreat at Da Lat, Vietnam. It was my way of seeking closure for the year gone by, and making peace with the developments and decisions in my life.
2018 has been challenging on many fronts in terms of work, personal, health and family life. It felt like each time I surmounted an obstacle, three others would surface. As I grappled with the weight of my expectations and those of others, I often felt like I was not doing enough, even though I was doing all I could. It was with this sense of ‘running on empty’ that I entered the retreat.
The song “Wonderfully Made” was played during adoration one evening. While I struggled to see God’s presence in my life in the past year, I felt Him speaking directly to me through the lyrics.
Wonderfully Made (Mark Lopez, SJ)
I’ve seen ev’ry tear that you’ve cried
The fears and the failures you struggle to hide
The worthiness doubted beneath all that pride
The visions and dreams left behind.
I know your remorse and regret
The secrets and stories you ache to forget
So many people you’d die to be yet
I choose you, I choose you
Do you know why I choose you?
I choose you.
If only you could see yourself the way that I do
And know yourself the way I know you
Then you’d love yourself
As somebody who is wonderfully made
Wonderfully made are you.
How faultless you are in my eyes
So gentle and guiltless, so perfect and prized
There’s so much to love that you don’t realise
My child, My beloved, My pride.
A future with so much in store
A gift those around you are so grateful for
Nothing can alter that anymore.
Wonderfully made are you.
In measuring ourselves by the world’s definition of success, our efforts will never be enough. We will never do enough to earn salvation on our own merit. Rather, we are saved by God’s infinite mercy and grace. He sent His Son out of love for us.
As we await the coming of Jesus, let us remember who is truly important — God’s love and our identity as children of God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Seet)
Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that we may always cherish the gift of Your Son. Just as You have loved us, help us to love the people around us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for the gift of Your love. We thank you for always walking with us and guiding us in every step of our journey.