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Christmas Eve – Homily

Posted by frmac on December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006
(St. Mary’s Parish)
Fr. Bob MacDonald

Christmas means so many many things to, oh, so many many people.
It is rooted in our memories of childhood, our family and friends. And, from these memories each of us has expectations and hopes, for the gift of this special day.The word ‘Christmas Spirit’ captures the essence of what we each individually want and expect from this day and season. Unfortunately, as we grow up, it becomes ever more difficult to revitalize the fantasy of the perfect Christmas past. Sometimes just a Christmas song – a snowfall – a little child decorating a tree, a phone call, or meeting a bus – a plane – maybe it’s a warm smile, a hug, or a kiss on the cheek that allow us to sense the Christmas Spirit again – even though fleetingly – quickly – a brief moment of life.

In some ways Christmas allows us to be children again (at least sense that young feeling), yet it is also a reminder that our life has changed, we are growing up, we have grown older, our parents have died, our children are no longer children, or maybe a spouse or a loved one that was very much apart of our own (very personal Christmas Spirit) is no longer living.

For many of us Christmas is a day – a time which forces us into the reality of now, the reality of our own life, the reality of dreams and lost dreams, and with memories that bless, memories that comfort, memories that gladden, memories that frighten, memories that sadden and disappoint—– memories, memories, memories. Oh the memories of our life, so powerful, so strong, so wonderful, so sad, so—– (you know what I mean) —- where has time gone and where am I going.

The very first Christmas
There were memories, as well.
Mary and Joseph – the Shepherds and angels
They too remembered (not our memories),
But the promise of God:
A child would be born,
Emmanuel would come,
And every valley be filled and mountain made low. Oh how they had waited,
And now they remembered,
The promise that God would come,
And rescue his people.
And now they marveled, and angels declared: Glory to God and peace among people.
And, so on this day,
With God in their midst,
They gave thanks in their hearts
With joy on their lips.

But only a few celebrated this very first Christmas for God arrived quietly, to poverty, in a small little place, and for him there was no room in a quaint little inn.

And Mary his mother, pondered and cherished her small baby boy, and remembered her words to Elizabeth her cousin a few months before:

“My soul magnifies the Lord”, she had said, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great thing for me, and holy is his name.”
“God’s mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.”

The organ begins to quietly play the Hymn: Silent Night

Tonight the echo of these words reverberates down through the war filled tumultuous centuries, and reminds us that this is the day that God came to make things right. And, if we take a few moments we will still here Jesus call: “Come to me all you who labor and are over burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Oh Yes,
Christmas is children,
And memories,
And so many many things.
But really this night is about you and about me.
It’s not about riches, nor power, nor glory,
Nor all passing things.
It’s about the God that made us
And loves us,
Died for us,
And call us his way.

May God bless you, and inspire you, as you pray here tonight!

And, always remember God Loves .

May God’s Peace be in you and with you on this Christmas night.(Choir and congregation now join in the hymn: Silent Night)

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