It was on this most holy night, the first Christmas, when God fulfilled the promises of old, took human flesh, and came to save mankind from his sins. On this most beautiful night, St. Bonaventure reminds us of ten additional miracles that took place, among them were that God slaughtered all of the sodomites, purging the Earth of their filth in the like way that he slaughtered them in the Days of Noah and at Sodom, and will surely do so again when He returns in majesty:
Bless, O my soul, the Lord who liberated Jerusalem, His city, from its many tribulations, He the Lord our God. Confess the Lord, O children of Israel, for He has shown His majesty to a sinful nation. (Tobias 13:19/3/7)
Moved by a great devotion of heart for today’s celebration, the soul of each one of the faithful should bless and confess God for His great works, exalting the men of Israel and the elect of Jerusalem ,as seen in the 24 considerations of the meditation on today’s feast set forth briefly in the Gospel of Christmas Eve. Four considerations are on God the Father, four on God the Son, four on the Blessed Mother, four on Joseph, four on the Shepherds and four on the Angels.
We should consider and bless God the Father for His most admirable liberality in sending His Son to take flesh and be born; and praise His fidelity for fulfilling His promise in the due time, His ineffable charity because He had compassion on us and was thus pleased to help us, and His eternal goodness because He wanted to make himself known to us in this way.
Regarding the Son being born, we should consider and bless His admirable and dignified benignity, imitate His promptitude in obeying the Father and His pity and incredible clemency toward us, and appreciate His submissive poverty, humility and simplicity.
As for the Mother who gave birth, we should consider and bless her immaculate virginity and glorious fecundity, the singularity of her delivery and the generosity of her fortunate and joyful childbirth.
On the part of Joseph, we should consider and bless his profound reverence, enormous justice, dedicated compliance and indefectible charity.
On the part of the Shepherds, we should consider and bless their holy simplicity, pious joyfulness, praiseful solicitude and their expanding faith and devotion.
On the part of the Angels, we should consider and bless the clarity of their omnipresent grandeur, the intimacy of their new tenderness, the learnedness of their preaching and the purity and sublimity of their new praises.
In all these meditations our souls should bless God, on this day.
On this day, He liberated His city showing His majesty to a sinful nation, not only by sending His Son to be born, but by bedecking and adorning the day, hour and time of His Nativity with miracles.
The miracles shown to the sinful nation at the time of the Nativity of Christ are these, according to various histories. (1)
First, a fulgent star appeared in the sky in parts of the East, which displayed the form of a most pure Infant, and over it was a shining cross to signify that He who was born would spread His doctrine, life and death throughout the whole world.
Second, in the middle of the day from Capitoline Hill in Rome, a golden circle that appeared near the sun was seen – [also] by the Emperor and the Sibyl – and in it was a most pure Virgin giving birth to an Infant, signifying that He who was born was the Monarch of the world and came to demonstrate the splendor of the paternal glory and figure of His substance. (2)
Third, the temple of peace in Rome fell to the ground. When it was built, the devils were asked how long it would last, and they responded that it would stand until a Virgin gave birth to a Son, as a sign that He who was born would destroy the works and practices of vanity.
Fourth, in Rome a large gush of oil sprung up from the ground and flowed into the Tiber, to show that a source of piety and mercy had been born.
Fifth, on the night of the Nativity, the vinae Engaddi, from which perfume is made, sprouted, flourished, extended its branches and produced its scented liquid, to show that He who was born would make the spiritual world flourish, grow and give fruits, and that its fragrance would attract the whole world.
Sixth, 30,000 criminals were killed by the Emperor, to show that He who was born would subject the whole world by His Faith and that the rebels would be lost in Hell.
Seventh, all the sodomites in the whole world died, both male and female, according to Jerome (3) commenting on the Psalm: The light was born for the just, which shows that He who was born came to reform nature and to promote chastity.
Eighth, brute animals spoke in Judea, among them, two oxen, to make us understand that He who was born would transform the most bestial men into rational persons.
Ninth, all the idols of Egypt were destroyed when the Virgin gave birth; according to Jeremiah (4) that sign was given to the Egyptians to make them understand that He who was born was the true God and the only One worthy of adoration with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Tenth, when the Infant was laying in the Manger, the ox and donkey knelt before Him, as if they had reason, and adored Him, which makes us understand that He who was born would call both the Jews and the Gentiles to His religion.
Eleventh, the whole world was in peace as described, (5) to show that He who was born would love and promote universal peace and that His elect would enjoy eternal peace.
Twelfth, in the East three suns appeared in the sky, which progressively merged into a single celestial body to show that by the birth of Christ the world would be informed of the Triune God, and that Divinity, spirit and flesh had been united in one Person.
About all these things, our souls should bless God and venerate Him because He liberated us and His majesty was shown to us, a sinful nation.
The Lord Jesus was born in the 5,199th year after the constitution of the world, after the constitution of the 750 gens of the City [of Rome], in the year of the 194th Olympics, in the 42nd year of Emperor Octavianus Augustus, in the 39th year of the reign of Herod of Ascalon in Judea, on the 8th day of the Kalendas of January, having Cyrenius as governor of Syria. (6) (source)
God is Love. God is Holy. He will NOT be mocked. Those who refuse His mercy, coming as an innocent baby that all might receive Him, will surely receive His justice.
May the Morning Star, born for us this day illuminate and purify all our hearts, and make us ready to receive He Who came for our salvation and Who will surely come again.
Glory to God in the Highest, and peace on earth to those upon whom His favor rests.