Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Nativity Vigil

Matthew 1:1-25

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Barbara Metz

Published: December 24, 2018

A Christmas letter from a childhood friend contained the following quote from the New York Times written by Andrew Sullivan.  “We have become a late-stage democracy, dripping with decadence and corruption, with elites dedicated primarily to enriching themselves, and a people well past any kind of civic virtue morphs so easily into tyranny.  It is as though an oil slick is smothering everything in its viscous mantle.”

The passage spoke to my mind and my heart.  It was a sad but true commentary on the state of our country.  I was deeply saddened as I gave assent to the truth of the words.

At the same time, this was a Christmas letter and I found myself moved to let the reality of Christmas play upon the situation of our world in my reflection.

We, in this beautiful season, are focusing on a truth that makes all other realities pale.  God has irrevocably and definitely come into our world.  His coming says, to us, “I love you, the world and human beings.  There is an intimacy between humanity and divinity that can never be broken. We are called to be with that love as we are present to the world with its struggle and sin.

Christmas tells us that God is at home with us and with our world.  He doesn’t just visit us; he dwells with us, lives with us.  In choosing to do this, he says to us.  “I am with you.  I am in your lives.  I am in the pain of your situation.  I weep your tears.  I meet you on every path that you walk.  I am in your anxiety and discouragement.  I am in your needs and I suffer them all.  I am even in your death.”

We are faced, in this feast, with the incomprehensible wonder of God’s enduring love for us.

God has come.  God is here in everything and is within us.

We light candles at Christmas as a reminder that the light of Christ is among us.  The candle has the power to dispel the darkness.  The candle of Christ’s life lasts forever and can always dispel the darkness, our darkness. God has accepted each of us with all our darkness and wants to fills us with grace and light.

Christmas needs to continue to dazzle us.  God quietly entered the poor dwelling of our earthly existence and began where we begin.  He was a helpless, vulnerable child.  He is very near to us.  He share our suffering and joy.  He took it on.

As we are present to the overwhelming mystery of the incarnation, we pray that our own darkness will become bright with the light and love of the God who is with us.

St. Julie reminds us that God has placed us here in a little corner, like a spark beneath the cinders, to enkindle in the hearts of others the fire of God’s love.”  What do these words of Julie mean for us in our times? Jessica Powers in her poem “The Light of God is Everywhere” say “…all places which have light in them are truly Bethlehem.” The Buddha says , “Make yourself a light.”


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