Sunday, 25 December 2022 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass at Dawn (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this morning of the Christmas Day, as we gather together to rejoice in the memory of the glorious coming and appearance of Our Lord and Saviour in the flesh, we are all reminded to give thanks to God for everything that He had done for us, all the love, generosity and kindness that He has shown us. He has shown us His great love, manifested and made real in Jesus Christ, His Son, Who was born from His mother Mary, ever Virgin, and came into our midst as the Emmanuel, God Who is with us, His beloved people. God did not abandon us to the darkness and destruction, but He opened for us the path of His eternal light and salvation by the incarnation of His Son in the flesh, that through Him He might save us all from the certainty of death and eternal damnation.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah the words of the Lord proclaiming His salvation to His people, calling upon all of them to return to Him and to be faithful once again to Him, as He Who loves His people will always be with them, and they shall once again be great and blessed as God has always intended. Back then, the fortunes of God’s people, the Israelites have been at a very low point because they had faced a lot of opposition, and the entire northern half of the nation of the Israelites, named the northern kingdom of Israel, had been crushed and destroyed by the Assyrians, who went to destroy their nation and as well as exiling many of the people away from their ancestral homeland to distant lands, all because of their sins and wickedness. They had been humbled and humiliated, because earlier on their pride and ego had led to their rebellion against God, and their wickedness in refusing to listen to His words and commandments.

The people of God had often rebelled and disobeyed against the Lord, refusing to listen to His words and reminders, persecuting and rejecting the prophets and messengers sent to them to remind them. They hardened their hearts to His words, and as such, they had to face the consequences of their wickedness and evils, and thus faced those great humiliations and punishments due to their sins. But it did not mean that God despised them, as the truth is that, God despised the sins that they have committed and not the people themselves. It was their persistence to remain in the state of sin, and their many sins which had led them to be punished and to face the consequences of their sins. But God never gave up on them, and He has always reached out to them again and again, nudging them to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him.

That is exactly the hope and encouragement that God hoped to show His people, by sending His Son into this world to be in the midst of His people, calling on them to return from their wayward way of life and embracing His way of righteousness and grace once again. God has shown His most generous love to us by reaching out to us and showing us the path and hope out of the eternal darkness and from the chasm and precipice of eternal damnation, because He wants us all to be liberated and free from our bondage to our desires, pride, ego and sins. As the second reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Titus highlighted to us, that God sent us the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to mark upon us the works of His mercy and love, to redeem us and draw us out of the darkness and into the light, to renew us and to strengthen us once again in His love.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account od the birth of the Lord Jesus according to St. Luke, as the Holy Child was born in a small stable just outside Bethlehem, a Child born as predicted and prophesied by the prophets, from the Virgin. And the Lord announced the Good News to all the people through His Angels, who all sang in great joy, ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo!’, ‘Glory to God in the Highest!’ to the shepherds who witnessed all of that in the wilderness of Bethlehem in Judea. God announced the joy of His coming to the world, as truly, the salvation long awaited by His people and by all those who sought Him has finally come into this world, in the form of the Child born on the manger in Bethlehem, that day, over two millennia ago, which we now celebrate as Christmas.

God made Himself small and vulnerable as a Child, and as a Man like us so that through Him, and His sharing of our human nature and existence, He may bring unto us the perfection of love and obedience as our loving Shepherd and Guide, showing us what it truly means to be a disciple and follower of the Lord. Christ could have come as a conquering King and Mighty One, just as many believed or thought that He would have, but He chose to come to us in this way, because He wants to be the Mediator between us and our Heavenly Father, God in Heaven, becoming the Bridge through His Cross, suffering, death and resurrection, that bring us back to the Father, and reestablish the Covenant between Him and us, which had once been broken by our disobedience and sins. He became Man so that by uniting our human nature to Himself, we may see and receive the fullness of redemption and glory, together with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we enter into this glorious and joyful season of Christmas, are we willing and ready to commit ourselves anew to the Lord, Our God and Saviour? We are reminded this Christmas of the great Love of God made Man, and because He has made Himself approachable and His most generous love tangible and within our reach, all of us no longer wallow and suffer in the darkness and sin. We are reminded that God is and has always been with us, no matter whenever it is, and regardless of the highs and lows in our lives. The love of God personified and manifested in Christ is what we are celebrating this time and season of Christmas, and it is what we all need to focus and put emphasis on during this time of grace.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that this Christmas should be a reminder to all of us in living our lives that we may seek to become better Christians, and that we do not just be like nominal Christians, having faith in name only. How we celebrate Christmas is one of the way that this is reflected and shown. We can see just how easily we access the mostly secularised and hedonistic Christmas celebrations all around us are, and how even many among us Christians, we celebrate Christmas in the same way, with great excesses in pleasures, merrymaking and rejoicing, but one that is empty because Christ is not at the centre of all of our rejoicing and celebrations. Christ has often been forgotten and ignored at the celebration of His own birthday, and that is truly something that is sad at Christmas every year.

Many of us spent our Christmas busy in trying to outdo one another in celebrating our Christmas with parties and gift-exchanges, trying to have more of the celebratory moods and the feasting, focused primarily on indulging ourselves on the various goods and worldly excesses of the usual Christmas festivities. Many of us treat Christmas as a time of holiday and rejoicing, to gather back with our families and friends, and exchange various stories and experiences over good food and drink. Yet, again, we often ignored the Lord and did not leave Him any place in our hearts and minds, and leaving Him out of our Christmas rejoicing and merrymaking. It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas with great feasting and merrymaking, but we must not let those to distract us from the true meaning and purpose of Christmas.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore make good use of this time of Christmas to share the love of God which He has shown us to all of our fellow brethren, to all the people we meet and encounter, even to acquaintances and strangers. It is not a time to love ourselves and to immerse ourselves in our self-indulgence and excessive merrymaking. Instead, it should be a time for us to be more generous in the giving and sharing of our love and joy with others, especially with all those who are less fortunate and not capable of celebrating Christmas in the manner that we do. We should do our best to show others around us what Christmas truly means, and share whatever extra blessings and graces we have received, with those who have less or even none at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we enter into this Christmas season, let us all continue to make good use of the time and opportunity in order to deepen our relationship with God, and to immerse ourselves in the celebration of God’s love and compassion, to return our focus and attention, and all of our Christmas celebrations and joy on Christ as the reason why we rejoice throughout this glorious and most joyful season. Let us draw ever closer to the Lord and His love, and let us all be ever more exemplary in how we live our lives from now on, and also in how we share the love of God with one another. May God bless us in our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Wishing all of us a most blessed and wonderful Christmas season for all of us and our loved ones. Amen.

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