Feast of Christmas: Midnight Mass
The Delicate Infant, The Mighty God
First Reading (Is 9: 1-3,5-6): A child has been born for us
Second Reading (Tit 2:11-14): Live a life worthy of salvation
Gospel (Lk 2:1-14) : Jesus was born in Bethlehem
“The creator does not speak but has compassion, At the end of winter, spring is felt; Thousand and million shades of red and purple are in place, Just waiting for the first sound of the new thunder.” (1)
The angel said to the shepherds, ‘Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ (Lk 2:10-12)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Ref Is 9:1-3,5-6)
This is the good news: ”We will see a bright light.” We will begin to see the secret of a life in Christ. We will see the wonders of the universe and see our happy future. We will not live under the shadow of death, we will walk in the light. This is truly the good news.
The yoke of our burden, the bar across our shoulders, the rod of our oppressors, will be broken one by one. The world will be filled with justice, love and peace. This is the good news that we hear repeatedly in the Advent season: the lamb will sleep with the wolf, swords will be beat into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks. The future world will be a world where ”all people live in harmony, all the earth belongs to all the people.” “.
All this is the good news that we dream about. It has truly been turned into reality, step by step. It is because the Messiah has come, the Savior has already appeared among us. From now on, we can freely see, love, recognize, free to befriend others and to give to them.
This is our good news, the news that Christ, the Messiah, our Savior, has himself brought to us.
However, if we read today's Scripture carefully we will not fall into a state of utopia thinking that God gives us all of this at no cost and we will enjoy it freely and forever. Not at all - that is not the only message that the Bible tells us.
From what the angel told the shepherds, there is one thing we must look at clearly. This is that we will find “a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in the manger”. The symbols of the good news, the savior, the Messiah, are wrapping cloths and a baby.
The King, the Messiah and Savior, is a weak infant. When the north wind blew, the cold would give him a running nose. His face would be chilled to the point of changing color. He would have caught cold. Because he was poor he did not have fancy clothes. He was wrapped up in ragged clothing. He did not have a famous brand-name baby cot but a manger which is only a trough for horses at feeding time. This trough was the cradle of our Savior.
These are the symbols of the Savior: The all-mighty God was only a weak infant. This infant was called a wonderful person of wisdom, powerful God, eternal Father, Prince of Peace. It is this infant who will bring to us light. He will break our fetters and the rods of the oppressors.
This reminds me of a poem written by Zhang Wei Ping of the Ching Dynasty: He said, “The creator does not speak but has compassion, At the end of winter, spring is felt; Thousand and million shades of red and purple are in place, Just waiting for the first sound of the new thunder.”(1) What the poem means is that the Creator may not speak a word but He is loving and compassionate. God loves this world and for the world has set in place the four seasons. On the heels of winter comes spring and the world is arranged in a million colours. Everything is ready waiting for the first sound of the new thunder. When it comes, all things will prosper and thrive.
In truth, our God is a God who “does not speak but has feelings”. God does not directly manage the world but the world evolves within God.
Jesus also is this kind of a Creator. He was a small baby, but he is the infant who holds the whole world and the destiny of each individual in his hands. He loves each individual because he is our Savior.
Let us ponder the marvelous miracle of this sacred night of our Savior's birth. Our lives may be very ordinary but in these ordinary lives our Savior is with us. His name is Emmanuel which means “God is with us.” A little but powerful God, a God we can truly feel and grasp, watches over our destiny and is with us.
Let us praise God and honor Him!