Christmas, Year C
December 25, 2012
O Come All Ye Faithful!
Familiar words to many. It’s my favorite Christmas hymn.
It also fits today. Look at all the people. There’s something about Christmas that draws many people out. We welcome all of you here, whether you are a regular, a visitor from out-of-town, or an occasional attendee, we’re glad you’re here.
What is it that draws some people this day?
Well, with faith in Jesus, Christmas is a joyful day for the Lord is triumphant over this world. O Come All Ye Faithful! Joyful and Triumphant.
The song calls us to Bethlehem. We aren’t all going to Bethlehem, the holy place of Jesus’ birth but as we celebrate his birth, we come here to God’s house. We remind ourselves of that first Christmas (beginning with our pageant) and recalled in our manger scene.
It is a humble scene, the grace of God has appeared. The Son of God lies in a manger. It is no grand scene fit for a king. It’s a very humble scene. A little infant born not in plushy accommodations but in a stable, no place for any child, let alone the Son of God.
The humbleness of the scene is part of the joy. God did not demand we bow before him but rather came to be one like us to give us hope. Who were the first to see him? Not kings and leaders but rather simple shepherds.
Why might we need this hope? Our world is not perfect. Terrible things do happen. We might feel like we live in darkness. We want out of the darkness and into the light. We want to know there is something more.
God had been promising good things and a new king for centuries. Jesus’ birth shows us that God always keeps his promise. Even our gospel reading takes time to point out that God has a plan and keeps his promise. Part of the promise was that the new messiah would come from David’s line. The descendants of David had grown astray but God never forgot his promise. The time has finally come!
So Jesus’ birth is truly good news of great joy!
For today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
Yes, a Savior!
Not just another prophet but a savior. We have sinned and we need a savior. We need a new beginning. Through Jesus we have a new beginning, a new beginning from the days of the Israelites to the Christian faith with all the hope.
As our Savior, Jesus will pay the price for all our sins. Maybe we fall into darkness but in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we confess our sins and Jesus gives us a new beginning, a new beginning in hope, hope knowing that God loves us so much as to become human. We look at Jesus lying in the manger. We see new life. We see the innocence of a child. We see hope.
Jesus returns us to our innocence.
Today truly is a joyful day. We come with faith in our hearts. We come with hope.
All this is a gift.
Christmas can be a busy time with much happening. In the midst of all of the busyness we take time to come here to remember what it is all about. Remember we began with O Come All Ye Faithful. Do you also remember the words repeated in the refrain, O come let us adore him?
We come to honor Jesus. We come to look upon Jesus lying in a manger. We come into the light. We come seeing great joy at Jesus’ birth.