Only two days until Christmas! I am sure every child is excited with anticipation and a few adults as well! Maybe all of us should hold that same excitement in our hearts, even if it is for a different purpose.
As I prepare for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, I first ponder the Entrance Antiphon and the Prayer after Communion found in the Liturgy of the Midnight Mass for Christmas. I have found over the years that they succinctly give us the theme of each Mass. For example, the entrance Antiphon for the Midnight Mass of Christmas says, “Let us rejoice in the Lord, for our Savior has been born in the world. Today true peace has come down from heaven.” Ah, true peace, the peace that the world cannot give. What is this peace? It is more than absence of fear (anxiousness about sickness, harm or death) or tyranny, (that which is a threat to mind or body). Peace is tranquility, calmness. It doesn’t mean that difficult events will not enter into our lives. Rather, it means that we will not be torn apart by them, because we are not having to handle them on our own but know deep within that Jesus is with us. He’s got this, and together we’ve got it under control. That in itself, should give us a calming effect. Will we be concerned? Of course. Will we work for solutions? Look at all the options? You bet. But not before we have taken it to the Lord in prayer to analyze those solutions and options with His way of thinking.
The Prayer after Communion says, “Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, that we, who are gladden by participation in the feast of the Redeemer’s Nativity, may through an honorable way of life become worthy of union with Him.” And what is this honorable way of life? Paul tells us that through Jesus we can reject godless ways and worldly desires to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, so that we can be eager to do what is good.
And what is the purpose of all this? That we might be worthy of union with our Savior. It is a union that brings about an all-encompassing love–a love that brings forth peace, a peace the world cannot give. May our hearts this Christmas be filled with this peace of which the Angels sang on that first Christmas, “Peace on the earth, good will to all, from heaven’s all gracious King.” What a gift!
By Sister Veronica Ryan, OSB