Today's Gospel: John 1:1-18
As a child, going to church for Christmas was, at best, an inconvenience. We hated the years that Christmas fell on a Sunday.
Can you tell I wasn't raised Catholic?
One of the best parts of being Catholic is the reminder that Christmas is about Christ. It's not just any Mass: this is a packed Mass, and seeing our little parish church overflowing does my cynical heart good.
The Messiah came as a baby, and isn't that worth a smile? How can you not smile when you see a baby? Even when I'm in the throes of hating my own infant, I can't help but acknowledge the hope in a baby, and then smiling in response.
If you're like me, you're reading today's Gospel and you're a bit...discombobulated by it. It's not the infancy narrative from Luke that we so often associate with Christmas. Instead, it's the beginning of John's Gospel.
And it's anything but easy.
It doesn't make you think of cute, cuddly infants being serenaded by shepherds and angels. It doesn't make you think of a young couple seeing the hope of the world arrive in the most humble surroundings. It doesn't make you think of much of anything Christmasy.
Christmas is about Christ, and this Gospel is very much about Christ. In this Gospel we have all the brainiac and theological background we could possibly need (if not necessarily understand). For me, the money phrase is "In the beginning."
Every year, Christmas is a beginning. We celebrate it every year because we need to be reminded and reminded and reminded. We may have to shake off the bah-humbug, inspire ourselves to smile, and even trick others into thinking we're not miserable.
But there's a Baby who's there, smiling at us. It's a beginning unlike any other. How will we greet it?
What gift will you give the Baby today? When can you pause to spend some quality time with him today?
Lord, thank you for the gift of your Son. Help me to embrace this gift today and always. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.