The first Reading of Mass is the invitation to joy. The prophet Zephaniah at the end of the seventh century B.C spoke of the city of Jerusalem and its people with the words: ‘’Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem…..! The Lord your God is in your midst.’’ As in the times of the Prophet Zephaniah, it is particularly to those being tested and to ‘’Life’s wounded and orphans of joy’’ that God’s Word is being addressed in a special way. To transform the world, God chose a humble young girl from a village in Galilee, Mary of Nazareth, and challenged her with this greeting: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’’ In these words lies the secret of an authentic Christmas. God repeats them to the Church, to each of us: Rejoice, the Lord is close!

( Pope Benedict XVI)