A whole lot of Christmas going on! Three sets of readings for The Day (and non-liturgical eve).
Christmas I: A prophet combines the theme of pregnant expectation with the hope of resurrection, irresistible to Christian readers who cannot help but to read backwards with the evangelists through the prism of the life, death and, resurrection of Jesus. The psalmist celebrates the proclamation of good news on the lips of women. The author of the epistle stakes out a Christian theology of resurrection that would be distinct from the coincidental rabbinic theology of resurrection. The gospel tells the story of the miraculous birth of the child who is inexplicably related to all of this theologizing about life and death and life beyond death. It is good news.
Christmas II: Here the prophet promises comfort, the comfort of a mother, remembering that the Hebrew Bible is the scriptures of a people perpetually under occupation. The psalm extols such a mother using feminine language for a God who transcends gender but is all too often represented as exclusively male. The epistle writer reflects on birth and rebirth in conversation with the prophets and, on a divine mother whose milk is her saving word. The story of the miraculous birth of the holy child is the same as for Christmas I.
Christmas III: This first lesson is drawn from the Deuterocanonical writings where God the creator of all is entreated to send wisdom down from the heavens, remembering that Jesus will speak of himself as “the son of Wisdom.” The psalm celebrates the divine architect of creation. The epistle likewise has a cosmic scope; Jesus is the cosmic Christ, bearing the fullness of God in his person. In the same gospel lesson as for Christmas I and II, Mary the Theotokos, the God-Bearer, gives birth to this child who is all these things and more.