A reading from the second Book of Samuel
(Chapter 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16)
God made a series of promises to his people throughout the Old Testament that are called covenants. This one is the Davidic covenant because it is with King David and the whole people. God says it will endure forever.
(Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29)
This psalm refers to the previous reading about the promise to David. The response that we sing is “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” Saint Augustine said that when we sing our prayers it is like praying twice. That is something to be aware of when we sing hymns or psalms.
A reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Paul talks about “the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages.” This is a mystery in the deepest sense of the word, not like a mystery story in which there is an answer, even though it may take a while for the detective to find out “who done it.” No! This mystery is the continual unfolding of God’s love for us in Jesus, and it is this mystery that you and I live every day. Imagine that! The true mystery of life is the unfolding of God’s love for us in and through our brother Jesus Christ. We live in mystery. Although we may not think about it often, it is always there.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
This reading is preceded by Luke’s account of the birth of John the Baptist. John is seen as the end of a whole series of Old Testament prophets through whom God visits his people. Jesus is someone entirely different: “The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” He is descended from the line of David through his foster father, Joseph, but he is born of his mother, Mary, a poor teenage girl, by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is all we know. A unique person is born in a unique way through the power of God. It is just the beginning of a unique life that has a unique conclusion. CNN or The New York Times were not there to record it. For us, it is part of our Journey into the mystery of God’s agape, his unconditional love.
May you have a joyous Christmas and know that the Spirit of God is always within you.