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St. Jude the Apostle Parish
Roman Catholic Church
800 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda, NY 14120
St. Jude Parish
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The Birth of Our Lord Jesus CHrist  
NativityAfter the four-week preparation that is the season of Advent, the season of hope and expectation, we arrive upon the season of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior; the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us will attend the evening Holy Mass and will hear the words of the Holy Gospel so familiar to all of us.

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.”

“While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’” (Luke 2:1-14) [NAV]

Indeed, we have heard these words many times, not only in church but also in movies and on television during Christmas seasons. Yet, thinking that we have heard it all before, we may sometimes miss the important living message of these lessons.

If we focus on each part of these Holy words we find lessons for us today. The Gospel reading begins in grand style. A census is ordered by the most powerful man that anyone at that time in history could think of; a man most had never met nor even knew what he looked like: Caesar Augustus. Whatever the Roman emperor ordered everyone had to listen. But God has devised this very situation to bring about a most important aspect into the life of humankind! Joseph and Mary must go to Bethlehem, the city of David. Joseph, and Mary, are from the “house and linage” of David. In contrast to Caesar, Joseph and Mary are not of earthly significance, living merely a common life style in an obscure part of the world. Yet, Jesus is to be “King of kings and Lord of lords.” God is pointing out to us that this small newborn child is to be born of great significance to the whole world. God’s Will overpowers the greatest of world powers always.

It was time for Mary to give birth, yet with so many having traveled to Bethlehem for the census register, the couple were unable to find a place where travelers could lodge. All of the inns were full and there was no room. For the sake of privacy, the Holy Family chose a place where the animals were kept, where there would be warmth and safety: a stable. There, Mary gave birth to her “first-born” son, Jesus, Our Lord and Savior and placed him in a manger, a place from which animals fed.

This reminds us of what Jesus would later say to those seeking to follow Him: “The foxes have lairs, the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:57-58)

How difficult and fearful it must have been for Mary and Joseph when her time to give birth came and trhere was no place for themn! Yet, what a beautiful sight to come to the manger and encounter the small and beautiful Christ Child! When we allow God to truly break into our world and into our lives, we are opened not only to times of beauty, but also times of hardship and difficulty. Jesus had nowhere to lay His head as a small child but He is lovingly and carefully wrapped in a manger. Then, He is later rejected and treated as an outcast! And still later, He is wrapped in the glory of God!

An angel appears to lowly shepherds out in the fields. As might be expected, “they were very much afraid.” The first message they hear is, “You have nothing to fear!” This message serves to remind us that when we are in contact with God, we surely have “nothing to fear.” We may not be bale to see or feel the assurance and comfort in the moment, but Truth and Love from God is always present. When we are with God and have nothing to fear, He breaks into our lives and wraps us in His warmth and safety and loving care!

When the shepherds hear the good news of the Messiah and Lord, they go to see the “breaking in” of God into our human world. When they do see the Christ Child, the promised Messiah and Lord, they go and began to spread the news to others.

This also is a lesson to us. We go to church and hear this same message of the good news. Not only do we hear this message proclaimed during the Christmas season, but each and every mass when we gather to hear the Word of the Lord. At mass we encounter the living Christ who broke into the world on that first Christmas morning and continues to break into the world every time we receive Him in Holy Communion. Like the shepherds, we can take this a step further! We can proclaim the message of Christ Jesus in our lives every day. In every thought, word and action we can reflect that which is Jesus breaking into our lives and thus changing the world for the better. Share the Good News!

We of St. Jude the Apostle Parish wish everyone a truly joyous Christmas as you gather in your parish churches and in your homes to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We extend to you our best wishes and prayers for a New Year filled with the joy, peace and love of Jesus Christ.