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The good news for the day December 24, 2016

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Advent (198)

John the baptizer’s father Zechariah, filled with the Creative Power of God (the Holy Spirit), uttered prophetic truth: “How special must be the Master, the God of Israel—He has come to his people and set them at liberty. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. … You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to provide His people with the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1)

Knowledge of salvation is not textbook knowledge—as though you read a catechism—or even the Bible—and you have learned what to do to “get saved”? Nor is it something parents can teach or you can learn in school—not even the “school of life.” This knowledge comes—by the “forgiveness of sins.” Reflection and prayers—let you see forgiveness as the key.

You do something—and doing it teaches you. It is like learning a new skill—say, at cooking a new soup, or learning how to put oil in a car, or using salt on ice, or wooing a spouse. You do it—you try something—hit and miss. The key thing you do—to learn “knowledge of what leads to salvation”—is to give and get forgiveness for messing up, going amiss.

As Christmas comes—often with family fights, low-grade misunderstandings that grow into painful anger, and frictions that simmer long-term—you can celebrate a New Life—birth in a stable—by trying this forgiveness thing—asking it, giving it, making an effort to reach people. Travel into the land of “other people”—not just seeing their world, but seeing yourself from their point of view. Let New Life begin! Look at the Child—act with contrition—ask forgiveness. Forgive. That is the first step into the New Life of Living with Jesus with you.

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