Reflection on Christmas

by Fr. Kevin Canty, CM (National Director), published in AMM Bulletin Christmas 2023.

In our first reading from Isaiah for the Christmas Day Mass, the prophet Isaiah announces the return of the Israelites from exile in terms that speak of “good tidings”. The Hebrew word for good tidings lies at the root of the New Testament ‘evangelion’ or gospel. Paul took up this very text and applied it to his own apostolic work of preaching the gospel in Romans 10:15, and it probably influenced Jesus’ own proclamation of his message of the kingdom or reign of God.

The use of the passage in the liturgy for Christmas suggests another application. It can be referred to the angelic proclamation at the nativity. This is indeed a proclamation of good tidings, a proclamation of salvation, an announcement of the beginning of the dawn of God’s reign. It is in the annunciation that the church sees the return of Yahweh to Zion to comfort his people and to Jerusalem. The angel at the nativity, Paul in his apostleship, and the church today all make the same proclamation: ‘Your God reigns’ – through the sending of Jesus into the world.

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