For You

Our family went to Mass at night (10 PM) on Christmas Eve, and the whole night was one emotional roller-coaster for me. It started when I read the readings on the way over to Mass.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.

What hit me so hard was what the angel said to the shepherds. “Today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

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[photo source]

For you.

Those two words have a lot of power to them. The shepherds — outcasts in society, living in the wild with their animals, alone much of the time — were told a savior had been born for them. For the lowly. For the poor. For the lonely.

A savior has been born for you.

William Newton wrote about Christmas being a time that is surrounded in darkness, that Christ is the Light that shines in it:

Christmas, you see, is actually about the existence of darkness, and how more often than not, we choose to embrace it. Indeed, we have come to love darkness so much, that God Himself had to intervene in our world in a physical way, to show us just how selfish and willful we had become. Sadly, in looking at the world in which we live, we seem intent on falling even further into that dark embrace.

The placing of the Birth of Christ at the time of year in which it occurred means more than it might, at first, appear. …

Yet whatever the actual forecast may have been, without question the Nativity occurred on one of the darkest nights of the year, thanks to the tilting of Earth on her axis. It’s interesting to consider the fact that God did not choose to enter the world in the warmth and light of summer. Instead, His Birth took place in poverty and humility, probably in the cold, but certainly surrounded by darkness.

We all know that the only way to get rid of darkness is by shining a light on it. This is what we mark at Christmastide when, as Christ says, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in Me might not remain in darkness.” (St. John 12:46) …

Our world can feel so dark, so dangerous, but it’s no more dangerous now that it ever has been. Certainly, we’ve found new and horrible ways to hurt and kill each other, but ever since Cain took his brother’s life, we’ve been dealing with the darkest side of Man’s Fall: his propensity to kill his fellow man. Today it’s ISIS, but in the past it’s been Diocletian, Persia, the Huns, and so on. We fear illnesses: today it might be ebola, but it’s been the Black Death or any other number of diseases.

None of it is new. All of it has been with us since the Fall. But what is different now, and has been for the last 2000 years, is that there is a light in the darkness, shining out and showing us a better way. God loved us so dearly that He came to us, in a form that we could grasp.

A savior has been born for you.

When Moses came to Mount Horeb, the Israelites were so terrified of God that they begged Moses to not make them speak directly to Him. This was not what God wanted — His plan was to speak directly to His Chosen People. But they were too afraid of Him. It wasn’t a healthy fear of the Lord, which is more like a fear of offending Him. They were terrified to allow Him to come close. And so God allowed this separation, using mediators and prophets to bring His message to Israel.

In the fullness of time, God came in such an unassuming form that most of the world missed Him completely. He came as a tiny, helpless baby. “Who’s afraid of a baby?” our pastor asked us at Mass. He emphasized the angel’s first words to the shepherds: Do not be afraid.

The very first people God wished to encounter were the lowliest of people. He sent his angels to them, to tell them the wonderful news:

A savior has been born for you.

Outcasts no more! God loves you! God has not forgotten you! Come to see Him face to face! Do not be afraid!

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And this is God’s message to each and every one of us, too. We are not alone. We are not outcasts. We are not forgotten. God has come. He waits for you. Do not be afraid!

He loves you.

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A savior has been born for you.

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