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Sunday , December 24, 2023

Dalmatian/Venetian Altarpiece of the Virgin Mary about 1400

2 Samuel 7: 8–16
Psalm 89: 1–4, 19–24
Romans 16: 25–27
Luke 1: 26-38

The four readings for Christmas Eve bring us a very strong message. In three of the passages, the words eternal, forever, steadfast, and always appear over and over, a promise that our eternal God is always with us, a loving parent to us and all our descendants, and that this steadfast love is unconditional! In fact, the gospel reading tells us that God loves us so much that God sent his only son, not as a king or dictator, but born as a helpless baby to bring salvation to the world.

When this plan was announced by the angel to Mary, her only question was “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And after the angel’s explanation, her humble assent was, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Despite what could have ruined Mary’s reputation and alienated her fiancé, Mary trusted implicitly in God’s eternal love and care.

This gospel reading, so familiar to us, is God’s steadfast covenant, a promise that assures us that God loves us unconditionally, always, eternally, and forever! Alleluia!

For what has been, thanks be to God,
For what is now, thanks be to God,
For what will be, thanks be to God.

Gail Holland