Monday, 25 December 2017 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Day (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this joyous day we finally come together to celebrate the Nativity or the birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who was born more than two thousand years ago in the quiet city of Bethlehem, in a small and dirty stable fit for animals, not for man, less so a king, and much less still for the King of kings. Yet, that was how He came into this world, a King Who came not to be served, but to serve.

This is the reality and the truth about Christmas, which is the moment when the King of kings and Master of the Universe willingly chose to become small, to be insignificant and to empty Himself, by humbling Himself beyond anything that we can possibly imagine, that the Lord and Saviour of this world should enter into this world in such a manner. And yet, it happened, and because of that, this world and all of us mankind has a new hope because of Him.

Christmas is much more than just all the festivities and celebrations that we see all around us, all the partying and merry-making we often associate with this joyous season and time. Christmas is a joyful time because it is about Christ, about the One Who came for us, and willingly entered this world for our sake, bearing the fulfilment of God’s long promised salvation and liberation from our fated destruction due to our sins.

Without Christ, our Christmas celebrations become empty and meaningless. And if we sideline Christ and replace Him with other things, as how the world commonly celebrate Christmas, in the secular and materialistic manner, then it is no different from any other forms of merry-making and seeking of worldly pleasures and excesses. Yet, that is sadly how many of us have been swayed and influenced by the society and the temptations around us.

How many of us actually put Christ at the centre of our Christmas celebrations and joy? How many of us prepare ourselves for Christmas and remember why is it that we rejoice in this momentous occasion of Christmas? How many of us actually spend some time to reflect on the importance of Christmas to ourselves, and took the necessary steps to prepare ourselves that we may celebrate Christmas worthily and with good understanding?

Many of us think of Christmas as a good time to celebrate together because of its numerous shopping opportunities, where we throng the shopping malls and other places where plenty of lucrative Christmas deals and discounts are being touted. Many of us then worry about what we are to buy, since there are so many options to choose from. We want to look good in front of others, and we adorn ourselves with the best of accessories we can get, and prepare the greatest and most lavish banquets and celebrations.

Yet, do we know that we are losing the point of our Christmas celebrations and joy? If Christmas is so much about ourselves, about our vanity and ego, then, we have wandered off too far away from a meaningful celebration of Christmas. It is often that we do not realise what Christmas is really about, and how significant it is to all of us, each and every one of us who are sinners, without exception.

Christmas by its nature cannot be separated and should not be celebrated without a clear link and understanding of its relation to Easter, the other great feast time of the Church. Without Christmas, Easter’s meaning is diminished and altered, and the same applies for Christmas, as without Easter, Christmas itself has no clear meaning and reason. For both of these great events in the Church gave the entire meaning to the work of God’s salvation, which He had done through Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, Whose birth into this world we celebrate this Christmas day.

Let us now spend some time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. What is Christmas truly about? Christmas is not the moment when Our Lord was conceived, for that happened the previous nine months from this date. Rather, as we all should know, it is the moment of Our Lord’s birth after He has spent nine months in the womb of His mother, Mary, born into the world, as the Divine Word of God, Son of God Most High, as announced by the Archangel Gabriel, and yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit and through Mary, He was also fully Man, as the Son of Man.

It is a core part of our faith and the teachings of the Church, that we believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, Who is part of the Holy Trinity, co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit as God the Son, but yet, having a human nature and existence, assuming the flesh and appearance of mankind, and born of a mother. He has two distinct natures, one that is His divinity, and the other that is His humanity.

Yet, these two distinct natures are perfectly and indivisibly united in one person, Jesus Christ. It is thus wrong to distinguish or to separate or treat Him as either man or divine without acknowledging the other. If Jesus is merely just Man, then His Blood and sacrifice offered for our sake during His Passion and death on the cross would not avail us, as no amount of mortal blood or offerings would have been able to redeem us from our sins.

If Jesus is merely just Divine, and not Man, then how would we explain His human traits and nature? He was born of a woman like that of any other men and women. He experienced sorrow and pain, and He was also tempted in His humanity by the devil in the desert. He wept for His friend Lazarus, and felt hunger and humanity’s other traits. All these pointed out to the fact that in Christmas, the Baby born and placed on the manger, is none other than God Himself, Who has appeared as Man, as one of us, fulfilling His promise that He shall dwell among us, Emmanuel, that God is with us.

God could have just saved us by His will alone. After all, He has created each and every one of us by the mere action of His will and His words. He spoke and everything came to existence. Yet, by the very action of His assumption of humanity, in Jesus Christ, He wanted to show all of us, the fullness and the perfect love He has for each one of us. Jesus Christ, the Baby Jesus born on Christmas day, is the love of God made tangible and visible, for God is Love and He has since then dwelled among us.

Christmas therefore is a truly joyful day and an event worth celebrating, and we all rejoice because God has loved us, and He has loved us so much that He had gone through all the trouble, to come into our world, and to be born through His mother Mary, that all of us may be able to see His love, through Christ, and by His loving sacrifice, the ultimate love He showed us from the cross, He saved all of us who believe in Him.

God has shown us His love, so that we who follow Him and believe in Him may also show love to one another. He came into this world as King, but He did not come to be served, but to serve His beloved people. His kingship is not one filled with pride and worldly ambitions, but instead it is a kingship of love. Thus, all of us rejoice this Christmas, because of God’s love for us, and consequently, we must, first and foremost, put the Lord at the centre of our Christmas celebrations.

Then, in order to make our Christmas celebrations more meaningful and worthy, we should also share the joy and blessings we have received with those who have less or even none. Let Christmas be a time for us to be more generous in sharing and giving, rather than a season of material excesses and excessive merry-making without regards for those who are suffering and lonely.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all embody the true spirit of Christmas, following the examples of Our Lord Jesus Himself. If God Himself has loved the world and all of us so much that He gave us the ultimate gift in the Baby Jesus, Our Saviour born and celebrated this Christmas day, then we should also love each other following His example. Let us all remember those who are in need, not just for material goods, but also, for love and attention. Let us not rejoice alone above the sufferings of others but let us share together the joy and therefore rejoice together this Christmas.

May the Lord bless us and bless our Christmas celebrations, that we may find true joy in Him and not in the pleasures that the world offered us and inundated us with. Let us draw ourselves closer to Him and do our best to live in accordance with His ways, that we may be reconciled with Him and find justification through He Who came in Christmas and Who will come again at the end of time to gather all of His faithful ones. May we then be counted among those worthy of His eternal glory. Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas everyone! Amen.

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