Christmas Day - Compulsory Rejoicing
From the Sermons of Pope St. Leo the Great [extract]
1st for Christmas
Rejoice for what the Lord has done
Dearly beloved brethren,
Unto us is born this day a Saviour, (Lk 2:11). Let us rejoice.
- It would be unlawful to be sad today, for today is Life's Birthday; the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter.
- It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing.
All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free.
- Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown!
- Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon!
- Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life!
For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Himself the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.
When our Lord entered the field of battle against the devil,
- He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh.
- He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15).
Also, compulsory on this day
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren,
- let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us,
- hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins,
- hath quickened us together with Christ, Eph. ii. 4, 5, that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship.
- Let us then put off the old man with his deeds (Col 3:9);
- and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh.
- Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature, (2 Pet 1:4),
- and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted.
- Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head, (1 Cor. 6:15).
- Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness and hath translated thee into God's light, and God's kingdom, (Col 1:13).
- And so my dear brethren, as Pope St. Leo the Great exhorts, let us rejoice this night and for all of Christmastide,
- and let us resolve to embrace the supernatural life made possible the entrance of our God into His creation.
We make this prayer through the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, our Mother in grace, our Mediatrix, our and model in virtue.