Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY, 1941.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Gospel for Christmas Day is a portion of Holy Scripture which we may most profitably read every day throughout Christmastide, until we know it by heart. And knowing it by heart, we may feel inclined to repeat it frequently for the purpose of meditation. Sentences from this Gospel, the first Chapter of Saint John, beginning at the first verse and through the fourteenth verse may be noted.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Word. He is the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father, By Whom all things were made:” Our Lord Jesus Christ is God.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man.” Our Lord
Jesus Christ was made very man, of the substance of the Virgin Mary His? Mother.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is God and man. In Him are two natures, the Divine and the human. These two natures are united in one single Person. He is both perfect God and perfect Man.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” Why did not the world know Him? The world was filled with darkness. Our Lord is the one, only and true Light of Light. He came down from heaven to be the Light of the world. He is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He is the Light which shineth in darkness, even in the ages and lesser periods when so dense is the darkness that it does not comprehend the light nor the life from whence it proceeds.
Yet so great is the mercy of God that the Light shines in darkness. It can always be seen somewhere. Epiphany, later on, will remind us of this. And always there will be hearts in which rays of the true Light will shine. Always there will be witnesses to bear witness of that Light. Saint John the Baptist was a man sent from God to hear witness of that Light.
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”
“And we beheld His glory, (the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
And “we.” There are many meditations to be found in this little word. We with all the faithful who are worshipping at the Manger. We with the glorious company of the Apostles. We with the goodly fellowship of the Prophets. We with the Holy Church throughout all the world are acknowledging the adorable, true, and only Son of the Father of an infinite Majesty. We, each in the vocation wherewith we are called, we have been given our measure of light in order that we may bear witness of that Light.
How? The Gospel answers this question. In Him was Life, and the life was the light of men. If we receive His Life we shall have His Light. And having it we shall take our part in the work of bearing witness to the Light.
It does not require conscious effort. The witness is only convincing when it is unhampered by self-consciousness. All that is needed is a whole-hearted devotion to the Holy Child, our God and Saviour.
Affectionately in Our Lord,