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Jesus is My Hero! – Christmas Homily

Christmas – Mass During the Night
Isaiah 9:1-6
Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 (Luke 2:11)
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14
December 25, 2018

Today we celebrate something very special.  Today we celebrate a birth.  The birth of any baby can bring joy and a warm smile to many faces.  The birth we celebrate today brings “abundant joy” and “great rejoicing.”  Think of all the traditional hymns that are so familiar to us for this celebration.  Songs like “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Joy to the World”, and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” 

Like other births, this birth brings us joy. It also brings us hope, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for a 1,000 years to sit on the throne of David.  So, when our Christmas story says, “the time came,” it first refers to the time for Mary to give birth, but it also means so much more in God’s plan.  It is the time appointed by God for the beginning of a new age in our salvation for Jesus is not just messiah, he is our SAVIOR.

We live in the “darkness” of sin but Jesus brings us “a great light.”  Knowing the bad things that go on today, we see the world as a “land of gloom” but Jesus shines his light up the world.

We try to live “temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age” but we fall short.  We need a savior to rescue us from our sins.  Jesus is our savior who delivers us “from all lawlessness” and cleanses us of our sins.

Jesus is our savior and we celebrate his saving act on Good Friday but today it’s Christmas. 

We see our Christmas scene in a nativity scene to the side of our sanctuary.  The nativity scene is set in a stable.  So, of course, there are animals present.  Mary and Joseph are there.  The shepherds are there.  At the center of the scene is our salvation, JESUS.

It is Jesus who fills our heart with joy and hope.  His birth brings us joy.  Looking at baby Jesus lying in the manger also brings us hope because we know what comes afterwards. 

He will teach us what it means to be his disciples.  In his teaching, he brings light to understanding what God’s Commandments really mean.

He will do many miracles so that we know he is the Son of God.  He will die for our sins so that we might share in entire life. 

When we look at baby Jesus lying in the manger we are filled with “abundant joy” and we rejoice.

It’s what brings us here.  Jesus is with us every day.  We have Mass every Sunday to help us see the light in a world with darkness and gloom in it. 

We need the light of Jesus throughout the year but Christmas really brings his light to the forefront.  If you go out in public, you see many signs that it is Christmas.  You see in the stores.  You see in the village decorations. 

In reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas, I will point to two specific types of decorations.  The first is a Christmas tree.  The fact that we use evergreen trees symbolizes “everlasting life” that Jesus reveals to us in his death and Resurrection.  We might also think about the shape of the tree as an arrow pointing up to the heavenly kingdom where we hope to spend everlasting life.

The second decoration are the Christmas lights.  We put them on the trees, our homes, and around town to remind us that Jesus brings light to the darkness.

In our first reading, Isaiah prophesizes about the coming messiah as the “child is born to us, a son is given to us.”  Isaiah provides a list of names for the messiah, “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace

As I reflected this past week on this passage, one of these names/titles began to come to the forefront for me.  It is “God-hero.

What is a “hero”?

One might think of superheroes who have “super” powers, like Wonder Woman and Superman.  Ironman has his technology and Batman has all his bat-tools. 

Does Jesus have superpowers?

He changes bread and wine into his Body and Blood.  Can you do that?

His gives his life on the Cross so that our sins can be forgiven.  I think that is very “super.”  It is through Jesus that all who believe in him are raised to eternal life.

Yes, Jesus is super.

But, again, what is a hero?  Being a hero is not defined solely by superpowers.  The dictionary defines a “hero” as a person who is greatly admired with brave acts and fine qualities.  Jesus is this and more. 

Perhaps his finest quality is “love.”  Everything he does is based on his love for us.  Jesus came down from Heaven because of love.  He taught us to understand God’s Commandments not to get us to do stuff for him.  He did this as what is best for us.

Jesus never stops loving us. 

Now, as I think about all that God has done for me, his teaching and preaching, his Crucifixion for my sins, I try to make God first in my life.  My reflection and prayer with these readings for Christmas has led me to know that Jesus is my hero. 

Jesus, I thank you for everything you have done for me.  Thank you for being my hero.  Thank you for being my Savior.

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