Jesus has come — our Emmanuel!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’ius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,   and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.

We watched two traditional Christmas shows after Mass last night.  The first is still the best Christmas TV special ever, A Charlie Brown Christmas, for the reason that it actually has to do at least in some measure with the true meaning of Christmas:

Charles Schulz had to fight CBS to have that included — in 1965.  We’ll have more on that later today.

The second film is The Nativity Story, a sometimes overlooked Biblical film that focuses entirely on the Advent passages from the New Testament.  This scene comes straight from the Gospel reading above, as the shepherds gather to pay homage after the birth of Jesus:

The best aspects of this film are the very human stories of the Magi, the depiction of Herod by Ciaran Hinds, and how the character of Joseph becomes so compelling.

May all of our readers — and all the world — have a peaceful and blessed Advent.