Christmas 2013, Year A
December 25, 2013
This summer a prince in line to the throne of England was born. As a king-to-be, he was born in a private suite in the hospital. There were people waiting outside the hospital as soon as they knew mom had gone to the hospital. The news media was watching closely.
Many, not just those in England, were on “baby watch”. The sensation didn’t end with his birth as people waited to hear his name. There was a lot of attention put on this ‘newborn king.’
We are here today to celebrate a birth and we decorate our church to look beautiful for such a special occasion. We’ve got flowers, trees with ornaments and lights, and ribbon.
The trees remind us of everlasting life. The lights remind us how Christ is the light of the world. Today we have much fanfare, and rightly so, for our celebration of our Savior’s birth but it was not so at his actual birth.
We hear in our gospel and we see it in our manger scene. Jesus was not born in a grandiose setting fit for the newborn king of the Jews. He wasn’t born at home or a hospital or even an inn. The only space was in a stable amongst animals where he laid in a manger.
In the way it came to be, fulfilling prophecies, we see the fulfillment of God’s plan. Why won’t God plan for an elite setting for the birth of His Son?
Jesus didn’t come to look good. Jesus came for us. To show us this, Jesus was born into humble circumstances so there would be no confusion of the average person being able to relate to Jesus.
Jesus knows what it is look to be born as a baby, totally dependent on others. Jesus knows what it’s like to grow through childhood and to become an adult. Jesus, as the son of a carpenter, knows what it is like to work for a living.
All this for us.
It was a very simple setting. No news media, no ‘groupies’ In fact the only way anyone knew immediately about Jesus’ birth was because God sent an angel to tell the shepherds and God will send a star to guide the magi.
It was a simple setting 2,000 years ago but today it is a great celebration because we have come to realize who Jesus is and all that he has done for us.
The first Christmas began a new age. Today is a very holy day and people come forth in great numbers for our celebration.
Probably many of you have already had some Christmas parties at school or work, with families and/or friends but it is awesome to see so many people here for our Masses.
To me, our celebration here is what Christmas is really all about so I am pleased to see so many here. God is also very pleased and we would love to see it like this all the time.
I see some regulars here and I see visitors. For our visitors, some of you may have travelled from a far to be with family. We are glad you got here safely and pray for your safe return home. Some of you may belong to other churches but our Christmas schedule works for you. Some of you may be people who come once in a while. For some of you, it may be your first time in church in several years. Right now it doesn’t matter where you have been. We’re just glad you are here for our special celebration.
I think it is because we celebrate something so special that we have so many here. Some come as regulars. Some come because “that’s what we do at Christmas.” Some come ‘because Grandma said so. Sometimes I think we get tired and want some peace in the midst of the holiday busyness.
We are just glad you are here today and want you to know you are welcome to come back as often as you wish.
Jesus draws all here. Maybe we don’t feel worthy to be here. On our own we might not be. Jesus gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation to make us worthy through his death on Cross. If you think you might need to go to confession, we stand ready every Saturday from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. or anytime by appointment. Don’t know what to do? There are materials hanging outside the confessional.
Today God shows us his love in the birth of his Son and our Savior Jesus. The grace of God has appeared and brings us hope. We need hope or we could not survive.
Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. Let us rejoice.