Matt C. Abbott
Christmastide
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By Matt C. Abbott
December 23, 2013

(On Dec. 20, I was flown to New York City to appear on the Dec. 21 Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC – a network known for being politically liberal. The topic of discussion was Pope Francis. Click here to view the pertinent segments. I was treated in a very courteous manner by the show's producers and fellow panelists, and I want to publicly thank them for that.)

The following reflection is from the Catholic classic The Spiritual Life, by Father Adolphe Tanquerey (1854–1932). Below that is a Christmas poem by Susan E. Gorski.

To all my readers, I wish you and your families a very blessed Christmas! Please keep me and my loved ones in your prayers.



Christmastide. The Word appears in the weakness of our flesh, with the charms of childhood, but also with its helplessness. He invites us to open our hearts to Him that He may reign therein as our King and enable us to share in His dispositions and His virtues. This is the beginning of the illuminative way. Purified of our faults and separated from sin and its causes, we unite ourselves more and more closely to Jesus in order to share in His abasement, in His virtues of humility, obedience and poverty, which He practiced from the very first moment of His birth.

He comes to redeem the world; but, who is there to welcome Him? None but a few shepherds and the three Wise Men from the East come to offer Him their homage. The Jews, His Chosen people, refuse to receive Him: "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." He is forced to flee into the land of Egypt. Returning, He buries Himself in a small Galilean village and there He remains for thirty years, growing in wisdom and knowledge as well as in age, performing the manual labor of a simple tradesman, and being in all things subject to Mary and Joseph.

Such is the vision which the Liturgy brings before us during the season of Christmas and Epiphany in order to present us with the examples we are to imitate. At the same time, it invites us to adore profoundly the Infant-God Who abases Himself for us, and it bids us offer our thanks and our love to "Him Who has loved us so much."



Christmas Morn

By Susan E. Gorski

Deep in the midnight, by the light of the majestic star
Three justly wise men sought Him, travelling very far
Approaching Him with the precious gifts they came to bring
And being received, the Heavenly choirs of angels began to sing

Jesus' whole life on earth would be shown in their gifts
Conquering the devil's lies told to the souls that he sifts
The Lord's Kingship was revealed within their gift of gold
As it was throughout history with all the kings of old

Frankincense offered to God, a prayer of Israel
Myrrh the anointing oil given for His burial
In these three gifts signify of His life all things
That He is man, He is God, and also He is King

The holy Virgin brought forth unto us this little baby boy
Who would reveal to the world the only way of joy
He would break our bonds of sin, upon the tree of the Cross
And He would open Heaven's gate to those who are lost

Upon my Christmas tree hangs a special remembrance
Concealed near the trunk is a foreshadowing semblance
Hidden beneath the foliage hangs a certain blessed nail
Prefiguring the tree of the Cross, unseen beneath the veil

By sins we have committed, away from grace we have striven
Because of Jesus' coming, through His grace we can be forgiven
For it is all of us that He came into the world to redeem
But it is up to each of us to accept the invitation that we receive
It is not for material possessions that our hearts were made
But to love our Redeemer, through Whom the price was paid
Remember, you, o souls, on this day of Christmas morn
A Savior is has come into the world, Christ the King is born

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, WOSU Radio in Ohio, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours in my column, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in very rare circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

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