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Christmas Homily

Christmas Mass During the Night
Isaiah 9:1-6
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14
December 25, 2014

Why are we here?

The answer would seem obvious.  It’s Christmas and that means we come to church but why?  We have Mass every Sunday but with far less people than we will see today.  What makes the difference?

Well, for one thing it’s kind of hard to miss Christmas.  There are TV channels that have been airing Christmas movies and specials all month.  The Christmas music is on the radio.  It’s in the news and there are the sales in the stores.  There are parties with family and friends.  There are presents to exchange.

These can be good things but they are not enough or we won’t be here.  The movies, TV specials, and the parties can be important parts of how we celebrate Christmas but they are not enough.

We are made for the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas is all about Jesus.  We get excited for the presents and parties.  We are inspired by the decorations but today is about Jesus.

I see it in our school children.  I have visited our school a couple of times in the last couple of weeks and talked with the students about Christmas.  If you ask them about Christmas, they’ll talk about the presents and being with family but if you ask what Christmas is about they will tell us it is Jesus’ birthday.

Yes, For today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.

These are the words the angel spoke to the shepherds but they are words that are important to everyone, a savior has been born!

Isaiah spoke of the people who walked in darkness and lived in a land of gloom.  It’s no secret that our world has problems in it and so we need light, light to show us hope, light that gives us abundant joy, and leads us to great rejoicing.

Presents can bring us some joy.  The parties can be times of rejoicing but I also think the presents and parties can leave us longing for something more.  Earthly things are important but we are created for something more.  We are created to know God.  We are created in God’s image and our hearts long to be one with God.

God is love and the exchange of gifts are meant to be an expression of love and we celebrate with the people we love but we see great love looking at Baby Jesus lying in a manger.

To think Jesus would be willing to leave him to become like us shows his love.  He could have come with great glory and power.  He could have come in great wealth.  He did not of that.

Why?

Jesus did not come into the world for himself.  Jesus didn’t come for us to praise him (but we should).  Jesus came for us that we might know his love.

Jesus could have come into a palace but instead in God’s plan, Jesus was born in a stable.  Why?  If Jesus had come as a wealthy human adult living in a palace how many would have ever really connected with him.

Instead Jesus chose to come as a little baby born into a simple family of modest means.  Jesus knows what it is like to be born, to grow, to struggle and suffer.  Jesus knows what it is like to be human.

Because I see so many decorations in church, I don’t do much decorating at home.  The one thing I do put out each year is a small Nativity set my mother gave me several years ago.  We have our Nativity set here in church and to me it captures the fundamental meaning of Christmas.

No grand palace or great crowds to wait hand and foot on the new king.  Not even a decent back room in the inn.  It all happened in a stable meant for animals where Jesus was laid in a manger, a manger where animals ate from.

How appropriate!  The animals ate from the manger and gained strength from what they ate.

Now in a manger we see Jesus who gives us life as we eat His Body and Blood.

Today is Jesus’ birthday.  Today we receive new life in Jesus.

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