December 22 (Matthew 2:2)
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
Christmas is just a few days away, but go for a moment to one of the thieves crucified with Jesus. Toward the end of the year 419, exactly 1600 years ago, St. Augustine wrote a work titled On the Soul, and in it he made a keen observation. Regarding the reactions of the disciples and the thief to the death of Jesus, he observed that the disciples “mourned as if the death of a human being, but he believed that Jesus would reign after His death” (On the Soul, I.11).
Now go back to the birth of Jesus. He was born a king, and people came to worship him even then, yet people have remained confused about this for two thousand years. We do not celebrate the birth of a man at Christmas. This is no secular holiday to honor a great human leader. It is a cosmic event that changed the way we understand reality itself. He is God in the flesh. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the second person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
As you make final preparations for Christmas celebrations, ask yourself this. Is your relationship to and understanding of Jesus similar to, albeit much greater than that of any other person? Or do you grasp along with the wise men and the thief that Jesus is your King?
Jesus, I owe You everything, from the breath that fills my lungs to the life I will enjoy forever with You. May my celebration of Your birth bring You true glory as I honor the One Who is my sovereign Lord. Amen