January 1, 2017 — The Octave Day of Christmas — Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
NM 6: 22-27; PS 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8; GAL 4: 4-7; LK 2: 16-21
The blessing included in the First Reading from the Book of Numbers is one with which most of us are familiar. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you…” In the Jewish culture this has been known for centuries as the Aaronic blessing as it was dictated by God Himself to Aaron. It is important to note that it begins with “The Lord bless you.”
All blessings come from God. One error we make is to conclude that blessings always mean happiness or security or prosperity. God knows what blessings we need, even if we do not. They key for us is to be grateful for whatever blessings we may have. That mind set is at the hub of stewardship — knowing all blessings come from the Lord, and our need to be appreciative of them.
To be “kept” by the Lord is to turn our lives over to Him, to know that He is with us and that He loves us, blesses us, and does indeed “keep” us ever in His care. The truth is that to be blessed by God is one of the greatest gifts we can receive. It is available to all of us without exception.
During this continued Christmas season, it is well to remember and repeat the classic statement by the character Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ immortal A Christmas Carol: “God bless us, every one,” for certainly He does.