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Christmas - December 25, 2017

Traducir al Español

            In August 1966, Simon and Garfunkel released a recording of “Silent Night/7 O’Clock News” in which the soundtrack of an actual broadcast of the 7 p.m. news for “August 3, 1966, overtakes a peaceful and serene recording of the beloved Christmas carol.  The volume of the newscast gradually increases to the point where it drowns out the music.  The purpose was to show dynamically the disconnect between what was happening in the country and what the world was celebrating at Christmas, as well as to show how easy it is to drown out the Gospel message. 
I share this because it also demonstrates the contrast in which we live our lives.  Many of us suffer intensely from physical, emotional and Spiritual pain. We see and hear the atrocities against human life that happen daily. All of these things can weigh us down, make us question the existence of God and His love for us, and make us lose our connection with Jesus and His Church.
But into this darkness, Jesus was born.  He came as a vulnerable baby because he desired to take on our flesh and be just as human as we are without losing his divinity.  But also, coming as a baby makes the strong point that our first impression of our God incarnate should be of one who does not judge, but in the tenderness of a fragile baby boy is the fullness of the unconditional love and mercy of our father. 

            Into the poverty of a stable, a savior is born for us, wrapped in simple blankets and laid in a trough full of hay.  Into the poverty of our human lives Christ is born for us tonight.  Into the reality of war, of violence and of injustice, Jesus is born anew to bring peace, harmony and love.  Into the reality of sickness, anxiety and sin, he comes to minister healing, security and forgiveness.  Into whatever is happening in our world or in our lives, Christ is born to bring reconciliation, to bring courage, to bring joy, to bring new hope and to bring his love.  We remember the day that our God became one of us born in a manger among beasts of burden to foreshadow that he would bear the burden of our sins on the cross.  Jesus is the revelation of God’s grace, the one through whom God grants us forgiveness and reconciliation!

            To those who make Christmas a day trip, Jesus wants to come into your heart with his love and acceptance.  If someone in the Church has hurt you, I ask for your forgiveness.  If you have lost a loved one tragically, it was not because Jesus did not love you or your loved one.  If those kinds of pains and wounds have kept you away, come home where Jesus can heal those wounds and renew our hope and joy.  If it is laziness, we know all too well that the road to hell is paved with good intentions not brought to fulfillment.  Said in a more positive manner, give God a chance once a week to touch your heart with His love.  If the reason is being scandalized by leaders in the church or church laws that seem more important than our duty to help everyone, regardless of their walk of life, let Jesus come to you.  He comes not to bring guilt but to bring healing and love.  Sadly, church leaders and members lose sight of that and forget the Gospel message that Jesus became one of us to die on the cross for us! 

Tonight is about God’s incredible love for us!  Love that came to us in the form of a vulnerable baby and in the poverty and earthiness of a barn with a feeding trough for a crib.  He did that to help us let down the walls we build in our hearts for whatever reason.  The Christ-candle in our Advent wreath is the Paschal Candle connecting the Mystery of the Incarnation to the Mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection – the humility of his birth to the self-sacrificial, agape, unconditional love on the cross.  Tonight he began his journey as our brother which culminates on the cross where more than anything, he is saying to us: “I love your more than myself! Let my love and mercy in!  That is my Christmas gift to you!”