Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

On this Christmas morning, let us take a moment to look behind the story that is so familiar to all of us ... the birth of the Lord Jesus that we read during the "midnight" Masses throughout the world.  What we might consider this morning is how this infant child has impacted not just the world but each one of us individually.  We know of the birth of many babies but no child's birth has had such an impact on the world as the birth of Mary's Son, the Son of God.

As you look at the child in any of the nativity scenes you see today or during the Christmas season we must think about these two realities:  this child was, from his very beginning, with God and IS God.

What is important for us is this:  this Child Jesus is and expression of God himself.  Each of us reveals something about ourselves each and every time we speak in a way that puts forward how we are thinking and what has value for us.   Again this Child Jesus is God speaking to us.  God's Word is somewhat different than our spoken words.  God's Word creates.  We can speak of "the President's word" on a topic, we can speak of the words of a brilliant orator like of John Kennedy or Pope John Paul II.  We know these words impact our lives.  We know today, for example, the many speakers who bring to mind the loss of 20 youngsters in a small Connecticut grammar school.  These words, even these very words I am using at this moment, impact your life and my life today.  But these words do not create us, do not make us.    But this Word of God brought all things into existence because he is God.

Just a few days ago we experienced the longest darkness in the year's calendar, December 21st.  From that day forward there is less darkness, more light. in our lives.  There is, then, a significance for us that Christmas is celebrated at this time.  Why wasn't it celebrated in the middle of summer?  We look forward now to those summer days, to those times when there is more light in each of our days.  Listen to the gospel today:  Light shines in the darkness and darkness cannot overcome this Light that has come into our world.  As you look at this Child Jesus, remember He is the Light that brings about what we hope for.

That "hoped for" experience is what we witness in the birth of the Child Jesus.  He became "flesh."  Interesting, isn't it, that John did not write that Jesus became a human being.  For John  the world "flesh" has special significance.  For the evangelist "flesh" points to all that is weak, all that is sinful in our world.  Jesus came to us in flesh ... so that he could experience fully what it is that each of us must endure in our experiences of life.  Jesus came to free us from whatever it is that makes us slaves ... slaves to ways of life that deprive us of the fullness that God desires for us.

When we, adults, look upon this Child Jesus, our prayer today should be that this Child will bring us the wonders of liberation, freedom, from the realities that deprive us of the wonders of God's creation.  In your prayer today, ask this Child Jesus to free you from that reality in this world that keeps you from enjoying the freedom God wants you to share.