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The birth of Jesus

Gospel Reading: Lk 2:1-14
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 Christ and Lord. And 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 a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest/ and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, the innkeeper, the animals, and the Magi – these are the familiar characters of the Christmas story, represented in the traditional nativity scene. One thing is common to them – they all say “Yes.” Jesus says yes to the divine plan for the world’s salvation: “Behold, I come to do your will, O God” (Heb 10:7, 9). Mary speaks her fiat to God’s invitation: “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

As John Paul II says, “Mary is the woman of the ‘yes’ who, contrary to Eve, makes the plan of God her own without reservation.” Putting aside his plans for a quiet married life and family, Joseph says yes to be the spouse of Mary and the legal father of God’s Son, giving the child a name: Jesus, Son of David, from whose house the Messiah is to come.

The Letter to the Hebrews declares that when God “leads the firstborn into the world, he says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship him’ ” (Heb 1:6). The angels say yes, announcing to shepherds the birth of a Savior “who is Christ and Lord” (Lk 2:11). In the fields keeping watch over their flocks, the shepherds receive the good news from the angel and say yes, telling one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us” (Lk 2:15).

There is no room for the Holy Family in the inn (cf Lk 2:7). The innkeeper and his family, however, clean out the barn or the stable and in so doing say yes to Jesus. Mary lays Jesus in a manger. The cattle and the sheep and the goats say yes, giving up