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The Greatest Gift
The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit, open my eyes to recognize the light that Jesus brings with his incarnation. Prepare my heart to contemplate the central mystery of my faith with greater love and gratitude today.
- The Greatest Mystery: St. John started his Gospel account by drawing us into the meaning of the mystery of the Incarnation. Let us pause and contemplate with awe and adoration. Who is this Jesus, this baby who was just born in Bethlehem? He is the light that existed from the beginning, the Word God spoke as he said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). He is the coeternal life that gives life to everything that exists. He is the fullness of glory, and does not depend on any creature. And after sin came into the world, his eternal love and mercy did not want humanity to dwell in darkness. In the greatest act of love ever told, he took on human nature and “made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). He came to give us the gift of being God’s sons and daughters, the gift of grace. He came to reveal the Father. What an amazing mystery of love.
- The Gift of a Father: The Gospel passage mentions that God gave those who accepted Jesus as the light “the power to become children of God” (John 1:12). Jesus came to reveal that God wants us to be his adopted sons and daughters, born not only from natural generation, but by God’s choice. We receive this gift at our baptism, and we strengthen it through the sacraments and a life of prayer. How many times do we walk through life as orphans, allowing the lies of the enemy to make us believe that we are alone, that there is no one to guide us, that everything is up to us? As we contemplate the love of God in the incarnation, let us stop and remember God’s presence as a Father and turn to him with the confidence of the children of God, as Jesus taught us.
- Accepting the Gift: As he was describing the gift of the Word of God made man out of love for us, St. John the Evangelist also mentioned that “the world did not know him” and “his own people did not accept him” (John 1:11). We know that God created us free, and we are free to accept his gift or to reject it. There are many times in our lives when we reject the gift Jesus has come to give us, and we opt to put other things before God. We believe in those moments that happiness will come from material things: money, power, fame, worldly pleasures, or comfort. We doubt that we can trust God with our happiness, and we try to secure it ourselves. Can we decide today to accept the gift of peace that surpasses all understanding which Jesus came to bring us through his incarnation this Christmas?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing the Father to us. Thank you for the gift of grace and peace you brought through your incarnation. Thank you for becoming a man like us to show us the way. I want to accept your gifts in my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I want to strengthen my spiritual life by making a good examination of conscience and preparing myself to go to confession during this Christmas season.
For Further Reflection: Read the Catechism 456 to 463 and reflect more deeply about the meaning of the mystery of the Incarnation.
Gaby Ruiloba is from Aguascalientes, Mexico. She consecrated her life to God in Regnum Christi in 2009 and currently ministers at Everest Collegiate High School & Academy in Clarkston, Michigan.