Merry Christ Mass

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This was in my church’s weekly devotional sheet… I thought it was perfect for today’s post:
 
"The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." 
 
 Jesus was born in the shadow of the cross. 
 
 It’s a different sort of tree than we are accustomed to see in celebrating Jesus as each Christmas rolls around.  The "tree" of the cross was anything but a venerated, holy symbol in Jesus’ world – and it was gore, not goodies, piled up beneath it.  The Roman statesman Cicero called crucifixion "the most cruel and agonizing penalty."  Jewish historian Josephus called it "the most wretched of deaths."  It was a hideous death reserved for rebels and riff-raff – and Jesus was crucified between two of them.  Most wannabe Messiahs ended up there, so Jesus looked like just another messianic loser.  "And so we preach Christ crucified – a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."  
 
 Raw love adorning a tree.  "Green wood" treated as deadwood.  The pain of a sword thrust laying our hearts bare.
 
The early Roman church called it "mass" – each celebration of communion regarded as an unbloody reenactment of Golgotha.  "Mass" is from "missa" – from the closing phrase after each communion:  "Ite, missa est" = "Go, you are dismissed."  And so we come to Christ’s Mass – the dismissal of our shame and the banishment of despair through divine grace flowing to us all from the first tree of Christ Mass.
 
I hope yours has been a wonderful day… not just the gifts and the food and the family.  Whether we have those things or not isn’t really the point… it might be nice, but not the point.  The point is Christ – born to us as a baby through a miracle of love and grace.  May that belief be your gift this Christmas.   ~Ann~
 
 
 
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9 responses »

  1. Thank you, Ann, for sharing this.  It was truly beautiful.  Definitely what it\’s all about.
    I loved the dinner train.  It certainly looked festive!  I also liked the fact that you made the goodies and took them to shut-ins.
    I have a recipe for fudge frosting that sounds just like that \’fudge goo\’.  hahaha      I always would make it to pour over ice cream as hot fudge!  mmmm  too yummy!    or frost brownies!
    Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

  2. Wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 
    Praying that your year is filled with tender mercies and abundant lovingkindness from our Lord.
     
    Love you,
    B

  3.  

    Hi Ann,
    My guess is that the "Mass" part of Christmas points to the idea of Divine incarnation and it\’s parallel in the idea of transubstantiation (the real "Presence" in the Holy Bread) during the Roman Mass.  The theme of Virgin with her sacrificial Divine Son (which pre-dates Christianity by millennia) is obviously the major focus.  And yes, the Eucharist had been and in some quarters, continues to be thought of as, the “Sacrifice of the Mass.”  However, let’s not go so far as to place the Crèche on Calvary “in the shadow of the cross.”  I’ll stick with my Christmas tree.
    Thanks for your interesting post.  I was actually very happy to find something to ponder. 
    Peace,
    ~Truly
     

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