Finally, it is Christmas Day

Published December 25, 2019, 12:53 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

“And she brought  forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and  laid him in a manger;  because there was no room for them in the inn.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord  shone  round about them; and they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them:  Fear  not. For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great  joy, which shall be to all people.

“For  unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour  which is Christ the Lord.

“And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

“And  suddenly, there was with the angel  a multitude of the heavenly host, praising  God  and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good  will toward men.”

This is how St. Luke  described the  day Christ was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Historians say it  was probably occurred between  4 BC and 6 BC, during King Herod’s reign in Judea.

In  this Biblical account, we see so many  ideals the world associates with Christianity today.

Christ was laid  in a manger – the trough in which cattle take their food.  The family had  to stay in the shed  with the cattle and other animals, because there was no place for them in the inn.  Poor people – shepherds – were the first to be informed  of the good news;  the three kings came days later,  guided by the star over Bethlehem.  Thus governments  like ours today see the poor as a special responsibility, who must  be helped with their food and housing.

The angels sang of peace, goodwill  toward men. Peace and goodwill remain elusive in many parts of the world  today, but it is the supreme goal, together with glory to God, for which Christ was born. In our own country, it may explain why  our government continues to  seek peace with the Communist rebel groups, despite the many difficulties   along the way these last few years.

In his weekly General Audience at the Vatican last week, Pope Francis  spoke of the crib,  the manger, where the baby Jesus  lay, as “an artisanal image of peace” – a “living Gospel.”  He urged  everyone to make a crib in the home, saying it is like inviting Jesus into the home. “If Jesus idwells in our lives, life is reborn, and  if life is reborn, it really is Christmas!”

These past days, we have enjoyed the  happy  season of lights and music, food and gifts, joy and the blessings of the season. Today,  Christmas Day, let  us  reread  the story of Christ’s birth, how the angels sang of peace and goodwill, and focus on what so many keep  reminding  us is the reason for the season, the birth of the Jesus Christ.