In the nearby countryside there were shepherds living in the fields and keeping watch over their flock throughout the night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terror-stricken, but the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. For this day in the city of David there has been born to you a Savior who is Christ, the Lord.

This will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and 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 heaven,
and on earth peace to all those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:8-14 New Catholic Bible (NCB)

Merry Christmas to all of my readers! I pray that the lord Jesus will pour out his joy in your hearts and always draw you closer to himself.

O Child, who willed to have for your crib a manger; O Creator of the universe, who stripped yourself of divine glory; O Redeemer, who offered your vulnerable body in sacrifice for the salvation of humanity!

May the radiance of your birth light up the night of the world. May the power of your message of love thwart the proud snares of the evil one. May the gift of your life make us understand ever more clearly the worth of the life of each human being.

Too much blood is still being shed on the earth! Too much violence and too many conflicts trouble the peaceful coexistence of nations.

You come to bring us peace. You are our peace! You alone can make of us “a people purified” and belonging to you for ever, a people “zealous for good deeds” (Tit 2:14).

For to us a Child is born, to us a son is given! What an unfathomable mystery is hidden in the humility of this Child! We would like to touch him; we would like to embrace him.

You, Mary, who keep watch over your all-powerful Son, grant us your eyes to contemplate him with faith; grant us your heart to worship him with love.

In his simplicity, the Child of Bethlehem teaches us to rediscover the real meaning of our existence; he teaches us “to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world” (Tit 2:12).

O Holy Night, so long awaited, which has united God and man for ever! You rekindle our hope. You fill us with ecstatic wonder. You assure us of the triumph of love over hatred, of life over death.

For this reason we remain absorbed in prayer.

In the luminous silence of your Nativity, you, Emmanuel, continue to speak to us. And we are ready to listen to you. Amen!

St. John Paul II — Homily for Midnight Mass, December 25, 2003

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