December 25, 2019 – Christmas Day
Click here for the readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122519-the-nativity-of-the-lord-day.cfm
Why do we celebrate birthdays? It is to “remember” a happy day, like the day of our birth. It is a happy day because our parents and relatives had been “waiting” for us. We also celebrate because we give “thanks” to God for the “gift of life.”
There are two words that are very important here. First, “to remember” – memory is humanity’s greatest treasure. Memory makes us “who we are.” It makes us connected with others, with our friends, family and relatives. Thus, our memory makes us “rooted,” to let us know where we come from.
Second, “giving thanks” – it comes from our grateful hearts. This is our response to God who has been so generous to us in so many ways. And because of our memory we are able to remember the goodness of God and so we celebrate and give thanks. The act of saying “thank you” to God is a statement of our dependence to Him, of our faith to God who is so good to us.
This is basically what we are doing right at this moment in this Holy Eucharist.
Eucharist means “Thanksgiving” – we thank the Lord as a community of faith as we also REMEMBER the greatest gift that has been given to you and to me – and that is, the birth of Jesus, the Emmanuel, the God-with-us.
That’s why, Christmas, like our own birthdays is a very happy day because we remember how God fulfilled his promise to be with us. Today, we remember as a community how our almighty and powerful God took the form of a defenseless baby to tell us that he is with us in our weaknesses, in our failures, in our problems and sorrows.
Our Gospel from St. John has described to us this mystery of the birth of Jesus, he said, “and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” Yes, God has at last come to us. He is here in our midst. He lives among us. It means that our God is not someone who is so far away and so distant from us. No, in Jesus, God assures us that he is truly with us! That we can easily find him, feel him and call on him.
This is the message of joy, of peace and comfort in this Season of Christmas. God has come to us and so let us all come to him! Let us visit him, look at him and cuddle the Lord. But how do we do that? How do we visit, look and cuddle the Lord now?
God makes himself present in the lives of the homeless, the poor, the weak and vulnerable, the bullied, with the victims and the oppressed, with the broken-hearted and the depressed, with the lonely and the grieving, with the inmates and the sickly, the problematic and the dying, the addicts, refugees and the victims of war and calamities.
Our God is He who identifies himself with the weak and the poor and chooses to reveal himself with the powerless and insignificant people in our society.
My friends, God is waiting for you and me. Jesus is born and is right there in our own stables, there in the helplessness of our neighbors. Jesus is there in our lonely and alone friend. Jesus is resting there in our hungry brothers and sisters. God is there in the person whom we have not forgiven, whom we have hated for so long. The Baby Jesus is there in our loved ones who distanced from us. Let us come and visit Jesus in the lives of others.
In this Season of Christmas we may be filled with joy, with smiles on our faces as we proclaim to our neighbors, classmates, co-workers and relatives the goodness of God, his faithfulness and love for you and for me.
A blessed Christmas to all!
Jom Baring, CSsR