December 25, 2003
CHRISTMAS - Feast of the NATIVITY
vol 14, no. 41

His delight is to be with the children of men    Proverbs 8: 31

The true delight for us mere mortals is that we were gifted with the grace of God by His becoming incarnate in the Immaculate womb. Is it not puzzling that more don't realize God's delight in saving man and show their gratitude as He so wills?

    "On that first Christmas night Jesus was born into a cold, hostile world. But He did not protest being born in a manger, though the kings of the earth are born in luxurious palaces. He preferred the company of the innocent beasts - the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys and the doves. He was welcomed by shepherds, simple believers to whom the angels announced His birth. He was safe and secure under the protection of St. Joseph, the silent and obedient servant of the Lord, kneeling before Him in adoration. And He was at home in the arms of Mary, His sinless and beautiful Mother. It was His delight to be among the children of men (Prov.8:31)."

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Double of the First Class Solemn Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he emphasizes the phenomenal message He sent by becoming man - like us in all ways except sin - and how God graced us with the holy tabernacle in the Blessed Mother who rejoiced that He could be shared with mankind. She, in her humble fiat was overjoyed that she, in whatever way God so chose, could be a vehicle to open the gates of Heaven. What love she showed and what love St. Joseph exhibited in shepherding the young God-man and protecting the Child's Holy Mother. What love Christ showed by becoming flesh - showing us that our journey in these temporal vessels of clay, molded by skin, muscle and bones is not in vain and that we can reap the greatest joy. That joy, thanks to the other loving gift of a soul given only to man, is of perpetually celebrating this wondrous miracle of the Incarnation not just once a year but every second of our eternity...if only we heed God's will for us. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

   "While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, your almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from your royal throne" (Wis.18:14,15). These words from the Book of Wisdom remind us of the great mystery of the Incarnation, and of the Birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem. We who believe in the Son of God made Man welcome Him once more into our hearts and on this celebration of His Nativity.

    On that first Christmas night Jesus was born into a cold, hostile world. But He did not protest being born in a manger, though the kings of the earth are born in luxurious palaces. He preferred the company of the innocent beasts - the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys and the doves. He was welcomed by shepherds, simple believers to whom the angels announced His birth. He was safe and secure under the protection of St. Joseph, the silent and obedient servant of the Lord, kneeling before Him in adoration. And He was at home in the arms of Mary, His sinless and beautiful Mother. It was His delight to be among the children of men (Prov.8:31).

    Jesus was like us in all things but sin. As a tiny baby He was completely dependent upon Mary. Mary was all things to Him-life, nourishment, warmth, security, comforter, and teacher. There was nothing He needed that she could not give Him. In fact, we could say that the Son of God, having forsaken, in His Humanity, the celestial Paradise, found Paradise once again in the arms of His Mother. According to St. Louis Marie de Montfort: "God the Son came down into her virginal womb as a new Adam into his earthly paradise, to take His delight there and produce hidden wonders of grace" (True Devotion to Mary, 18).

    "Everything is Mystery in this holy season," says Dom Prosper Gueranger, "The Word of God, whose generation is before the day-star, is born in time-a Child is God-a Virgin becomes a Mother, and remains a Virgin-things divine are commingled with those that are human-and the sublime, the ineffable antithesis, expressed by the Beloved Disciple in those words of his Gospel, the Word was made flesh, is repeated in a thousand different ways in all the prayers of the Church-and rightly, for it admirably embodies the whole of the great portent which unites in one Person the nature of Man and the nature of God" (The Liturgical Year, v.2).

    Christmas is a time for giving gifts. God loves to give gifts. His greatest gift to us to us on this day is that of eternal life. Christmas is for us. It is our birthday too: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting" (Jn.3:16). Although the world did not know Him, and His own did not receive Him, to those who did receive Him "He gave the power of becoming sons of God; to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12,13).

    St. Augustine testifies: "God was born of man, so that man could be born again of God. He needed a mother on earth, a father he had in heaven. He, through whom all things were made, was born of God from all eternity: but he was born of a woman, that he might make all things new" (Tract. In Joannem II, 15).

    Pope St. Leo the Great declares: "… the Feast we are now keeping brings us back to the sacred Birth of the Virgin Mary's Child, Jesus our Lord. So that whilst adoring His Birth, we are, in truth, celebrating our own commencement of life; for the Generation of Christ is the origin of the Christian people, and the Birth Day of him that is our Head is the Birth Day of us that are his Body… the whole mass of the Faithful, once having been regenerated in the font of Baptism, are born, on this Day of Christmas, together with Christ; just as they are crucified together with Him in His Passion, and have risen together with His Resurrection, and in His Ascension are placed at the right hand of the Father. For every believer, no matter in what part of the world he may be living, is born again in Christ; his birth according to nature is not taken into account; he becomes a new man by his second birth; neither is he any longer called of the family of his father in the flesh, but of the family of our Redeemer, who unto this was made a Son of Man, that we might become the Sons of God" (Sermon 6, On the Nativity of our Lord, Ch.2, as quoted by Dom Gueranger).

    Oh, to realize what it means to be born again as a child of God! "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God, and such we are" (1 John 3, 1).

    Some are fortunate enough to realize this and walk with that knowledge every day. A story is told of the young Princess Louise of France, daughter of King Louis-Philippe. Going for a walk one day with a governess, she was upset about something, and turned to the governess saying: "Why do you treat me like that? Don't you know I am the daughter of your king?" The governess calmly turned to the princess and replied: "And don't you know that I am the daughter of your God?"

    This night must change us, for by our Baptism we are reborn in Jesus Christ. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk, then, as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth…" (Eph.5:8,9).

    The words of the holy Deacon, St. Ephrem, admonish us: "In this night of reconcilement let no man be wroth or gloomy! In this night that stills all, none that threatens or disturbs! This night belongs to the sweet One (Christ); bitter or harsh be in it none! In this night that is the meek One's, high or haughty be in it none! In this day of pardoning let us not exact trespasses! In this day of gladnesses let us not spread sadnesses! In this day so sweet, let us not be harsh!… To-day Godhead sealed itself upon Manhood, that so with the Godhead's stamp Manhood might be adorned" (Hymns on the Nativity of Christ in the Flesh, 1, Trans. Rev. J.B. Morris).

    Nos cum prole pia, benedicat Virgo Maria! May the Virgin Mary bless us with her holy Child!

Father Louis J. Campbell


December 2003
vol 14, no. 41
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons