When I was in seventh grade at St. Joseph’s School, our class was part of the Christmas pageant, and we were chosen to sing all the stanzas of several Christmas carols. I went home from school one day and proceeded to memorize the stanzas of the most popular carols. That was a long time ago, but I still remember some of those stanzas.
Many of us welcome those familiar songs as we hear and sing them, usually beginning right after Thanksgiving. I wonder, though, as with so many things that become familiar, do we pay attention to the meaning of the words? The words of some of those second and third stanzas may be passed over; some of the melodies and rhythms may draw our attention away from the words. Don’t get me wrong. Music is fine; but these popular songs tell of the important news of Christ’s birth for a very weary world. C is for carols.
C is also for conception. Mary asked the angel, Gabriel, what his greeting of “favored one” meant, and he answered her:
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you will name him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)
A miraculous conception! The best conception! Mary’s generous gift of herself for the hope of the world!
C is for crib. Baby Jesus had no traditional crib. Being born in a stable, a hay-padded manger was the best crib available. Mary and Joseph did the best they could to make the baby comfortable. We remember that God the Father gives us gifts of ingenuity and creativity to make the best of bad situations.
C is for company. Angels gave shepherds the news of the Savior’s birth. And Luke 2:15-17 recounts:
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the child lying in the manger.
So Mary, Joseph and the baby had unexpected company. Leave it to the angels to inspire those lowly shepherds to pay a visit and be truly amazed!
Especially during the current world health crisis, we are challenged to make our Christmas celebrations meaningful, healthy, and safe with the company we keep.
Depending upon our situations, we might have to keep company with Jesus through virtual Church services, but the truth and the joy of Christmas is in-person when we pray in thanksgiving to Jesus for giving himself to redeem us.
C is for Christ Child. May we be like the shepherds in our jubilation this Christmas:
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:20)
The scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.