Jesus is born and God is with us
Christmas Day has final arrived; the cleaning is done, the tree is fully lit and decorated and all the presents have been brought and wrapped. Now it’s time to rest, relax and rejoice.
So what have the last four weeks of being busy and preparing all been about? Christmas, which lasts for twelve full days is about Remembering and Celebrating.
So, what are we remembering? We are recalling how, where and when Jesus was born. We retell this story through prayers and reading the gospels; we sing ancient and traditional Christmas Carols which keep the story of the birth of Jesus in our hearts and minds. We may take a few minutes over the next few days to stop and stand silently in front of the crib or manger, either in our homes, the local shopping centre or in our parish church. We see the familiar scene of a young homeless couple and their new born child. They are surrounded by animals and the shepherds who came to see this family because God’s messenger, the Angel proclaimed to them; ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born you; he is Christ the Lord.’
So after remembering, we then celebrate, and rightly so. We have cleaned and decorated our homes; we gather with friends, families and neighbours and we share a meal. We recall Christmas’ past, and we remember those who are no longer with us. Why do we keep these and other ancient traditions? At the heart of Christmas is what God does for us. Through the birth of Jesus, it is not just that we come close to God; God comes close to each of us personally and intimately in the face and voice of Jesus his Son. In the dark of winter, Jesus, the Light of World comes and shares God’s very life with us. Pope Gregory the Great, who died in 640 AD, said, ‘O Christian, be aware of your dignity, it is God’s own life that you now share.’ This is great meaning, magic and mystery of Christmas.
The challenge for each is that we don’t just think of Christmas and the birth of Jesus as something that happened a long time ago in a far of country. Christmas happens in our hearts, our homes, our families and our community when we reach out in compassion and love to each other as Jesus loves each of us. Through our words and actions, we are called to make real in our own daily lives the love Jesus has for us. The birth of Jesus cannot remain in the past. It must happen now, today and every day, not only for me, but through me.
St. John Paul II, said, ‘The mystery of Jesus that took place over 2000 years ago must be lived today and every day. The Word that found a dwelling place in and through Mary comes to knock on our hearts this Christmas and every Christmas, today and every day.’
As Tiny Tim says at the end of Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ God, bless us, every one!