2013/12/24 - Homily - Christmas

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‘Merry Christmas !’

again, just after singing the Glory of God and hearing the scripture’s readings about this great event. Good news on earth from Somebody who is above us and even inside us. Good news from our God who is able to cherish  each  one of us as we are.

But why is it good news? The promised Child is born.  Humanity has known  that for two thousand years. And we have known it for quite  some time. We know it from our christian culture, absorbing the christmas habits such as preparing the christmas tree, the creche and  singing carols. For those who have received such culture, do you remember the atmosphere at home, in the church, as child, as a teenager, as a young parent... ?

In my own  family the children had to look outdoors for the first star appearing in the freezing blue sky of December. After seeing the “star from the East”, we would run home to announce, “Yes, the star has appeared” !

This meant we were about to start our Christmas dinner. But we weren’t allowed to eat any of the many delicious dishes on the table or still cooking in the oven. 

We would all stand up around the table to hear our father make a very exceptional and emotional speech. During his speech, full of good wishes, he also asked our mother to forgive him for all that was wrong in his attitude towards her. Such words made a deep impact upon me.

It was a sacred exemple for us as children, so each one of us, five boys, replied  in the same  manner and asked  for forgiveness to our parents and, of course, our brothers. Our stomachs were empty, but our spirits and hearts were full of good feelings of joy.   And then the celebration dinner could begin.   

Jesus, this Child, came and still comes again. He comes to make our lives better. He comes with a very special gift, his own life to share with us. For this reason we give gifts to each other. Lets us look in more detail at Jesus’ gift.

Jesus’ gift is love.  His Love is for now and evermore, for each and every one of us: love from God to humankind, and consequently love from parents for their children, love by the rich  for the poor, love by healthy people for those who are sick, love by those who are happy for the unhappy, love by those who have inner freedom for those who are victims of  so many kinds of different prisons.

Because, in fact, somewhere deep inside, if we really admit it, we are not that healthy, not that rich, not that free, not that happy….we are all dissatisfied and looking for something more meaningful.

We  have already understood from the Prophet Isiah :

“The peuple that walked in darkness, has seen a great light” (9,1)

On this Christmas night, let us ask ourselves: How  do these words enlighten us ?  How do we feel? Good, confident, doubtful, suspicious?   It is a great challenge for us to come here and celebrate together such an event. So many people come to Church during this Christmas night to reflect on this, putting their lives on hold for a short while.

This night we may come with such questions. But where can we find the answers? Surely inside of us. Of course, the readings of this Chrismas eve mass provides us with the way to find the answer. They provide us precisely with the light that will help us to see inside ourselves.  And like Joseph, we can accept this child into our life.

Mary accepted him right from the beginning. She accepted him into her body because he came into her heart  first. We can, like Joseph, accept him into our heart first, and then accept him into our body and soul.

We do this by listening to his Word, and by receiving his life through Holy Communion. But the most important thing is to welcome him into our  life, our whole life. Like the Psalmist, we must show how real this is,  by our contentment, the peace of mind, and with joyful singing :

« Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad » (95)

A Merry Christmas to you all, as we are reminded of our salvation.  Let’s be the joyful light of such good news, starting inside of us and  spreading  it  around us.   Amen!