The Nativity of Our Lord – year B – 25th December 2023
Lectionary Readings: Is 52:7-10; Ps. 98: 1. 2-3. 3-4. 5-6; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14
Theme: The Manger in my heart.
The gospel of John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word (Logos)” This is a conscious connection to Genesis 1:1, just as much as it says in Genesis 1:1 in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth so John, when he wrote his gospel, he was deliberately connecting us back to that point that there was nothing when there was only God before God created anything.
This ancient Greek word logos, had an interesting idea in both the Jewish and Greek cultures. In Jewish culture they would often refer to God as the word “Logos” of God. In Genesis, he says, in the beginning, was the word, therefore it connects something with ancient Jewish culture but also with ancient Greek culture. Greek Philosophers had a sophisticated understanding of what they called logos: they thought of the intelligence that created and manages the whole world; in short, this intelligent design and beauty, when we look around us in the world, and we see in creation that things have been designed and have their own purpose and were and didn’t happen just by accident. We know that this intelligent designer is the mind behind everything and has rationality and that reason comes forth to us. So, the Gospel of John tells us great and wonderful things about God, and he connects us to where we are in our own culture as human beings.
John Introduced us to the word (Logos) from B’reishit (Genesis) and now there’s a man who bears witness to the word and we know him later on as John the Baptist. He bore witness to the light and told us that through him all might believe thus preparing the way for Jesus Christ and he made the point in verse 8 that he wasn’t that light, but he bore witness to the light and deliberately pointed people towards that light (Jesus Christ).
Today is the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas to everyone, but in today’s celebration of the birth of Jesus we prepare a lot of things in our houses, to decorate the Christmas decorations, wrap gifts, cooking of Noche Buena etc., but those things are external preparations only. What about the internal preparation? What about the “manger” in your heart? Imagine we are busy with outside preparations (external preparation) but internally we forget the place of Baby Jesus, the manger in our hearts, which is the most important part of this celebration. In different countries, we call the manger:sabsaban, אֵבוּס, praesaepe, manjedoura, pesebre, Rāng h̄ỵ̂ā , Kaiba oke, máng cỏ, Mǎ cáo, pasungan.
In John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This divine reason became flesh to take on human form and every year we celebrate his nativity. However, is the manger in our hearts ready to receive him or still, the same from the last year full of cobwebs because of our sins, no conversion from our wrongdoings seeking power, money, sex, addiction to alcohol and drugs etc.?Are you going to allow it that the Logos that became flesh and dwelt among us in the presence of the baby Jesus will lie in your manger full of dirt and cobwebs because of your sins? Christmas is not only about the external but also internal preparation and having converted from wrongdoing. John says: ‘in him is Light and Life’, and life is for you right here. If you want to reject light and you want to reject life, that is your choice but God respects your choice: God allows us to choose to live in some darkness and death but that’s not his will for us, We need to choose the light and life, that we receive in the Son who dwells among us lying in the manger in our hearts. Let us be prepared and welcome him so that we can thoroughly say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Do I prepare the Manger in my heart? 2. Do I choose to live in darkness and death or choose the light and life on this special occasion of Christmas?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965) http://gcatholic.org/CatholicStudy
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Dunhill Malunar Timkang, Israel, Bat Kol Alumnus:2023