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Annunciation, Da Vinci

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel [God with us].

~ Isaiah 7:14

Caravaggio, Nativity with St Francis & St Lawrence 1609

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

~ Isaiah 9:6-7

The Adoration of the Magi, Corrado Giaquinto

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ [Messiah, the Anointed One] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.

~ Luke 2:8-14

Corrado Giaquinto, The Adoration of the Magi, 1725

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

~ 1 John 5:11

Thank you, Lord, for your infinite mercy and grace. Not one of us is deserving of the gift you gave to the world. You gave your own life that we might live, and each of us fails miserably time and time again to be worthy of your gracious love. We are all worthless sinners, deserving of nothing but condemnation and punishment for our stubbornness, pride and cruelty. We are disobedient and petulant, and far too often we lose the battle that rages inside of every man. Not because you failed to provide us with adequate weapons to fight, but because we doubt and refuse to listen when you speak.

But in spite of our wretchedness, you still saw fit to love us. You protect us constantly from the evil one, and if we were all better at just listening, I know that we’d discover the innumerable times you were protecting us from ourselves, but we suffered because we ignored the call of your redeeming voice. But we are obstinate, ungrateful people and in desperate need of your salvation.

As we all gather today on this most precious of holidays, my Lord, I beg your continued forgiveness and compassion. Please have mercy on me, a sinner, and on all your creation. Would that we were better children. Children worthy of your precious gift 2000 years ago.

But make no mistake, today we celebrate CHRISTmas. Christ’s mass. The birth of our Lord and Saviour. And we will all strive to do better. To love one another, and to love you above all else. We will never allow your name to be forgotten. Today we say “Merry Christmas” in reverence and remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for every breath we take.

Amen.

Rubens, The Adoration of the Magi, 1619-2

Images: Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Annunciation” (1472-75), Caravaggio’s “Nativity with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence” (1609), Corrado Giaquinto’s “The Adoration of the Magi” and a second “The Adoration of the Magi” (1725), and Peter Paul Rubens “The Adoration of the Magi” (1619).

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