TI. 2, 11-15; LK. 2, 1-14. DECEMBER 25
"GOD'S favor has appeared bringing salvation to all men." ( Ti. 2, 11) "Today . . . a Savior has been born to you." ( Lk. 2, 11) Yet on the other hand, "We wait for the blessed object of our hope, the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." ( Ti. 2, 13) "Do not be afraid." ( Lk. 2, 10)
Reading alternately from epistle and gospel selections, as we have just done, we hope to find something of the meaning of today's feast. The first pair of phrases tells us that God has acted, done a decisive thing in our midst. In Christ Jesus we are saved.
The second pair of phrases reminds us that nothing that matters ultimately has happened yet to us--that in an important sense our final redemption has not been accomplished. And, because it has not, we have every reason to fear.
A trilogy of anxieties presses in on us: fear of death, fear of inscrutable fate, fear of wrongdoing. What shall our answer be to this threefold threat to our peace?
Is life basically meaninglessness, helplessness, guilt? Or is it at bottom hope? Our answer to that dilemma depends in good measure on the answer we give to the ancient question: "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is He?" If we have no