Yesterday began a period of intense prayer and personal reflection for the coming feasts of the Christmas season. It is the traditional time when many cultures began their Christmas novena, ending with the celebration of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Another sign that these days are set aside in a special way appears in the Evening Prayer of the Church, which celebrates the “O’ antiphons at the start of the recitation of the Magnificat. Each “O” antiphon is a different title that describes the characteristics of the Messiah. Together they proclaim the coming of the One who would fulfill the desires of God’s people and bring redemption and peace to humanity and the entire world.
Yesterday’s antiphon calls the Messiah “O Wisdom”- the One who knows all things but also offer us the insights we need to live with a proper perspective and to seek true holiness in everyday life. Today’s antiphon is “O Sacred Lord of Ancient Israel”, reminding us that God, who never goes back on his sacred promises to His Chosen People, brought the fullness of His love into the world through the Incarnation of His Son. Thus, what God promised to His Chosen People is brought to complete fulfillment in His Son.
These days invite us to reflect upon a fundamental question: What does Jesus mean to me? This question can also be rephrased in the following ways: Do I believe Him to be my Lord and Savior? Is He the center of my Life? Do I know Him to be the long-awaited Messiah of the nations?
For if we truly wish to celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, we must be clear as to who He truly is and what response we must give to so great a Gift.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!