By Father Michael Hutchison
“So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger… Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” Luke 2:16, 20.
From the beginning of creation, God’s plan for humanity is eternal bliss in heaven and throughout human history He has worked meticulously to bring this plan to fruition. The disobedience of our first parents did not end the plan of God. He sent prophet after prophet to turn the hearts of His people back to Him, but when they refused to listen, at the appointed time He sent His only begotten Son into the world to fulfill His plans for humanity (Cf. Gal, 4:4).
Indeed, His love for humanity is so strong that He does not relent in His efforts. John puts it succinctly in chapter 3:16 of his gospel “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” This is what we celebrate at Christmas, the power of God’s love and His plans for humanity.
However, God’s plans need humanity’s response. Although He created us, He does not compel us to respond to His plans for us. Instead, He needs our cooperation. St. Augustine couldn’t have expressed it any better when he said, “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
As we listen to the Christmas story let us be aware of all those who said yes to the plan of God and how their yes brought joy to the world. We think about the young boy David, a shepherd in the field, who said yes to God’s plan and became a King, a shepherd over God’s flock. It was through his line that the Savior was given to the world.
We think about Zechariah and Elizabeth who said yes to God’s plan and had their lives totally changed, from barrenness to fruitfulness. Their yes to God’s plan brought them even closer to the Savior. We think about John the Baptist, a young man in the desert who said yes to the plan and ended up a great prophet. We think about the shepherds in the field who said yes and were filled with great joy upon seeing the baby Jesus. We think about the wise men from the East who said yes to the plan and ended up a part of the story. We think about the animals who said yes by offering their house and trough and became part of the Christmas story. We think about Joseph who said yes to the plan and became a foster father of the Son of God. Above all, we think about Mary who gave the ultimate yes to the plan and became the mother of our Lord and Savior. God’s plans for humanity continues to unfold. The story continues to be told.
Will you say yes to God’s plan for humanity? We may not know what a yes means now and where that will take us, but we know that He who is seeking our yes is faithful and good and will take care of us. We also know that our yes will bring meaning into the lives of others. A yes will mean sharing our lives with others just as these wonderful people in our Christmas story shared their lives with us. God’s plan is bringing meaning into the life of humanity. A yes means bringing laughter and smiles to the faces of others. May our yes bring peace and joy into the world. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Prince of Peace Mass Schedule
December 24 (Vigil):
4:00 PM Sacred Heart (La Porte City)
6:00 PM Saint Paul (Traer)
9:00 AM Saint Mary (Eagle Center)