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Chapter 9

The Mystery of Christmas


Prayer gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart.
—St. John Chrysostom



  “The people that sat in darkness, have seen a great light; and to them that sat in the region overshadowed by death, light has arisen.” (Matt. 4:16)  The “Great Light” is Christ who leads us out of spiritual darkness and death into the light and love of God. “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)  But we also see the power of pride and evil, because although “the light has come into the world, men preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)  May we prefer the light of Christ to the darkness of sin even when it is painful to see the truth and accept it.  “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

The Son of God became the “Son of Man” so that we could become sons and daughters of God, not by nature, but by grace. (John 1:12-13)  When we are reborn in Christ the Lord through a true conversion, we want to share this “good news of great joy” with other people.  “Do not be afraid.  For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)  That is what Mary did after she received Jesus Christ into her life by the coming of the Holy Spirit (at the Incarnation). (Luke 1:35)  She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. (Luke 1:39-56)  “And (there) Mary said, ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’”  Mary brought Jesus to Elizabeth and John the Baptist and they were both filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.  Like a fire that spreads by its own power to all that is ignitable, the fire of divine love spreads from true Christians to others who are open to receive it. 

But do not blame others if they do not catch fire, for you may still be too soggy a log in the sin of sensuality or petrified in pride for the fire to burn freely.  Remember, it is only the beginning of the spiritual journey.


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