A HOMILY FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF CHRISTMAS – 12/25/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Christmas is finally here for us believers! And it’s about time! We know, of course, that on TV, especially in the commercials, Christmas has been here for several weeks. Everybody has Christmas commercials on TV. This year Wal-Mart has been rocking Christmas. Zale’s has the perfect diamond for everyone. And Chevy wants us to be part of their family this Christmas. But what is the deal with all the perfume ads, or is it “par fume”? Have you noticed this, this year? The Macy’s Department Store, the same people who bring us the Thanksgiving Day parade, tell us that this year they want to be our Christmas fragrance destination. This year, Macy’s has been bombarding us with commercial after commercial for all sorts of perfumes, and colognes, and something called “Eau di Toilette”. “Eau di Toilette” doesn’t sound very Christmassy does it? Remember when Christmas was about traditions, and family, and decorations? Now, apparently, it is about how we smell. Because this year, there have been all those bizarre, artzy commercials for perfumes. Famous ladies climbing on swings. Lightly-clad women running through crystal walls. Actresses playing in water. Anorexic men diving into swimming pools. Who makes these commercials? And these perfumes and colognes have names like Chanel, and Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace, and Armani. When did you have to learn French or Italian just to buy your aunt a bottle of perfume? What happened to good old American names like Avon, and Old Spice and Brut? It’s just hard to imagine that expensive perfume is really what Christmas is all about!
And can you imagine if they made a perfume, or an air-freshener, or even a Yankee Candle of what that first Christmas must have smelled like? Jesus was born in a stable. Stables are not known for their great aromatic smells. Stables usually smell of cows, and horses, and wet hay, and the organic by-products of what cows and horses produce. You get my point, right? Who would want a perfume that smells like cows?
No, once again, the commercials have got it wrong. Christmas isn’t about perfume or how we smell. Christmas is about true love. And no perfume, no matter how beautiful it smells, can adequately convey true love. It took a baby! On one given night two-thousand years ago, when the little town of Bethlehem was way over-crowded because of a census, a really good man named Joseph, and his really, really good young wife, names Mary, had a very special baby. And because there was no room for them in any of the local inns, and they didn’t have Trivago back then, the Son of God was born in a stable. The promised Messiah came down from Heaven. And the angels sang. And the shepherds kept watch. And there was that glorious star up in the heavens. And God proved how much He loved the world. Not with a bottle of perfume, but with a baby, a baby that would change our world forever!
It is probably worth noting that there wasn’t room for that baby and that family on that first Christmas. Someone had to make room just so that Jesus could be born. Certainly, Joseph and Mary had to make room in their lives for Jesus. Ultimately, many people would make room in their lives for this Messiah. It didn’t just happen. In many ways, our world tried to crowd Him out, and not make room for Him. In many ways, our world has always had more room in it for perfumes and colognes than it does for the Living God. Perfumes and colognes are a lot less challenging than the Son of the Living God is.
Today, in 2017, almost 2018, we need to make room for this same Messiah in our lives. And that means clearing some things out. Making room. Making time. Making space.
And it also means that this Christmas we worry about much bigger things than just how we smell. You see, you can put enough perfume or cologne on a pig, and you can make it smell pretty good, at least for a little while. But Perfumes and colognes only cover-up stink for so long. This Jesus, Whose Birthday we celebrate today, doesn’t just want to cover up our stink, He wants to take it away forever. He wants to re-create us in His blood. He wants to give us new life!
And that’s the real gift this Christmas! And if we accept it from God, it changes everything all over again, forever! This Feast is always new, and always refreshing, and always rejuvenating! Let’s see any perfume or cologne do that!
From all of us here at St. Maria Goretti, Fr. Sean, Deacon Steve, myself, our seminarians, our candidates for the Permanent Diaconate, and our entire Parish and School staffs, we wish you a blessed and Merry Christmas!
+ May God bless us all on this Feast Day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!