Christmas-A A +A
By Dr. Bob Ocio
Isyo ug Servicio
Sunday, December 22, 2013
A STORY of faith, hope and salvation.
Mary, a virgin, was living in Galilee of Nazareth and was engaged to be married to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. An angel visited her and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus.
At first Mary was afraid and troubled by the angel's words. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, "How will this be?" The angel explained that the child would be God's own Son and, therefore, "nothing is impossible with God." Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.
Surely Mary reflected with wonder on the words found in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling this event, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
A story of humility about a Savior born in a manger
Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.
A story of humble praise and worship by shepherds
Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby in the stable. After their visit, they began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way still praising and glorifying God. The tender child Mary had just borne—was the Savior of the world.
A story of the king of kings
Wise men (Magi) from the east saw a star, they came searching knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained, "In Bethlehem in Judea," referring to Micah 5:2. The wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. They bowed and worshipped him, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh.
The story goes on at the Vatican today
"Reflecting on the meaning of Christmas, Pope Francis urged the faithful "not to place ourselves above others, but rather lower ourselves, place ourselves at the service of the poor, make ourselves small and poor with them."
Quoting Matthew 25: 35-46, the pontiff said "Whoever has nourished, welcomed, visited, loved one of the least and poorest of men, will have done this to the Son of God. On the contrary, whoever has rejected, forgotten, ignored one of the least and poorest of men, will have done this to God himself."
"Let us act so that our brothers and sisters never feel alone! Our presence in solidarity by their side expresses not only through the words of but also through the eloquence of deeds that God is close to everyone," he added in his address. (ABC News)
The Pope’s message of Christianity according to Cardinal Dolan
"I mean, everybody from the bartender to the cab driver [is] telling me, 'Cardinal Dolan, we love this guy. We're not even Catholic, and we might not even be believers, but this guy is getting us thinking about God and eternal things." Pope Francis, born in Argentina as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, celebrated his 77th birthday on Tuesday by plucking three homeless men from the streets of Rome to eat breakfast with them. (ABC News)
The Pope's message of Christianity of connecting to the world
He is known for embracing the sick, visiting the poor and having fun with those who come to see him. He even posed for a photo with a newlywed couple, clowning around with the gleeful duo.
He is a social media star, with more than 8 million followers connected to his various Twitter accounts. The pope manages nine different Twitter domains, from English to Arabic. (ABC News)
The Message of Christianity by His Priests
In Bohol, a parish priest simply brings the message of Christmas to victims of earthquakes in affected towns by leading the people and the relief goods of his parish to those communities not only to supply them with food and materials but also with the personal touch of fellowship and entertainment to keep their spirits rise beyond the devastation. Yet, children have been taught to root for the humble story of Jesus in the manger by encouraging them to sing Christmas carols before the Belen to be reminded of the story of salvation.
Today's message of Christian salvation for the people and the nations 2 Chronicles 7:14 – "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." The story of Christmas and salvation has been foretold and it shall remain the same in the days of the old, Jesus and our times.
He has called mankind to seek and to find Him, to prostrate in humility, prayer and in worship. It has called upon all of us to repent and the change from our wicked ways so that He will hear our call, forgive us and heal us towards salvation. It was a call to faith, prayer and in active participation before the body of believers even in our times of hopelessness, misery, tribulation and even when it seems impossible for us to carry on.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 22, 2013.