December 25, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRISTMAS 2018  –  CYCLE “C”  –  12/25/18  –  SMG

+   Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you on this day!

We know that there are lots of different ways to celebrate Christmas.  There are many different and varied Christmas traditions all around the world.  For example, in Slovakia, families buy a live carp, you know, the fish, they keep it alive in their bathtubs for a few days, and then they eat the fish on Christmas Eve.  The problem of course is that many times the fish becomes a family pet.  It’s like eating Nemo for Christmas dinner!   In Iceland, bad children do not get coal in their stockings, they get a visit from Gryla, a scary old woman who kidnaps children who misbehave, and then boils them alive.  What a horrible Christmas tradition!   And in Japan, and this is a much new Christmas tradition, it has become extremely popular to have Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Day.  Hundreds of thousands of Japanese, will order KFC, up to two months in advance, in order to have a finger-licking good Christmas!  Where did this come from?  New Baby Who is God, shepherds, star, manger, and… fried chicken with seven herbs and spices!

How did we get here?  How did Christmas become about a carp in the bathtub, or an evil woman who kidnaps bad kids, or eating fried chicken?  And you know, we laugh, but is it any better when Christmas becomes about gift cards, and spending more than our neighbors, and getting the present that WE WANT?

My Brothers and Sisters, tonight/ today, we need to be very clear about what we are doing here, about what Christmas is, and what Christmas is NOT.   Nearly two-thousand years ago, our God came down to this Earth, and changed everything.   In the person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, God embraced us and all humanity in a tender yet powerful way.  God’s love was revealed!  Not in shiny gifts, or generous gift cards, or tasty treats, but in a Baby.  A Baby!

When Jesus was born in the Bethlehem manger, God came to us with a human face.  In the Incarnation, the all-powerful God of the Universe took on, out of love, the fragile human race, as a tiny, vulnerable baby.  He didn’t come as a warrior, or giant, or victorious king.   In a manner way beyond words, God had used words before, and they didn’t work, God showed how much He cared and His true desire for peace with all mankind, on that first Christmas Eve, as He drew us into His warm and peaceful love, with the Word become flesh.  This was the answer.  This is what mankind had sought from the creation of the world.  This was our Savior.  This was the Messiah.  And He didn’t look anything like what we thought that He would.  He was a Baby.

After centuries of covenants, and laws, and prophets, and priests, and kings, and holy men and women, and all their unceasing efforts to speak and act on behalf of God, and call us back to God,  God makes a definitive statement of just how much He loves us, with a Baby.  God embraces mankind for all time.   He doesn’t act remotely, or from a distance, He doesn’t send an angel or a prophet, He comes in person to show us how much He desires a personal relationship with each one of us!   And He was welcomed that night.  Mary and Joseph embraced Him, and loved Him, and welcome Him into the world.  There may not have been any room for Him at the

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Inn, but there was plenty of room in the hearts of His parents, and the Shepherds, and all those who witnessed the greatest miracle.

How about you today?  Is there room in your heart this Christmas, for this Jesus?  Have you made room in your life for Him?  Do you accept His love and His peace as the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive, or are you still looking at Kohl’s?   What’s in your heart?  Forget about what’s in your wallet.  What’s in your heart?  Do you welcome Him?  In the quiet beauty of Christmas, if we let Him, God loves us beyond all compare, and lifts us up to Himself.  Everything changed in that stable that night!  And tonight, as we gather here on His birthday, everything changes for us again.

This is such a great Feast Day!  God’s love is that BIG!  It came alive.  And it lives today in the hearts of all believers, if we let it!  If, we let it!  That’s why we are celebrating today and this season.  God’s love is THAT great!   Do I say it?  Do I go there?  Yes, no?    Why not, it’s finger-licking good!

From Fr. Mike, Fr. Derek, and myself, and Deacon Steve and Deacon Will, from our Seminarians, Liam and Brian, and from our entire Parish and School staffs, we wish each one of you a Blessed Christmas!  May the miracle live in your heart!

+  God bless you,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…   Pray for us!!!