Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the season of Advent ends today as tomorrow we joyfully celebrate the great solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity, Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, into this world, the Lord and the Divine Master of all, Who assumed the humble flesh of ours, and became a Man like ourselves. This is the essence of Christmas, and this is what we celebrate together.
And appropriately, the readings from the Sacred Scriptures today in the first reading from the Second Book of the prophet Samuel spoke about the king of Israel, David, the faithful servant of God, who wanted to build a house for the Lord, as he thought that it was improper for him to dwell in a majestic palace made from cedar and gold, while the Lord Who was present in the Ark of the Covenant remained under a Tent, the Holy Tent of Meeting.
And it was told how God refused David’s offer to build a house for Him, and He told him how his son, Solomon would be the one to build the magnificent House, the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And we know how that great Temple was built with the best quality wood and stones, with abundance of gold and silver, and such a great gathering of worldly precious goods that may have never been surpassed ever since.
Such was indeed the attempt of men to glorify God from time immemorial, as both kings David and Solomon tried their best to glorify God in the best way they could give and provide, by honouring Him with the best sacrifices and with thrones and dwellings made from gold, silver and many precious stones, so that all who gaze upon that great House of God would be awed and would bow down before the one and only True God.
And how is this relevant for us, brothers and sisters in Christ? What is its relevance to our celebration of Christmas? That is because that magnificent Temple of Solomon was destroyed and razed to the ground by the Babylonians. Nothing was left of that Temple, and the Ark of the Covenant too disappeared without a trace, likely destroyed in the midst of the carnage as well.
That catastrophic event marked the symbolic rupture in the Covenant which God had established with His people, because that people refused to listen to Him and obey His commandments, and instead, they followed their own rebellious paths, and they served and worshipped pagan gods and idols. They were unfaithful to their part of the Covenant and consequently they suffered the consequences of having broken the covenant of the Lord.
Then, even though the Temple of Jerusalem was rebuilt and made even greater in size and majesty by the king Herod the Great during the time of Jesus, but the Lord Himself revealed through Jesus Christ that He had transcended the physical Temple where the people worshipped and offered sacrifices, for He no longer just spiritually dwelled among His people, but in the very matter of the world, in His own Flesh and Blood, in Christ, He dwelled and is now still dwelling among all of us His people.
Yes, just as on one occasion Jesus spoke of how He would tear down the Temple of God and rebuild it in just three days, when the people and the Pharisees misunderstood Him thinking that He referred to that magnificent stone edifice that is the Temple built after the return of the Israelites from exile and then enlarged by king Herod. Instead, He was referring to Himself, to His own Body.
Christ is the very Presence of God, for He Himself is God, the Divine Word incarnate into the flesh, that by assuming our form, He made Himself real and tangible to us all, and dwells completely among us in physical form and in spirit. And this happened from that moment of His conception and then birth into this world, which is Christmas! God Who was once invisible to us have made Himself visible and tangible, that we all would know that He is with us as He has always been ever since the beginning.
And He did not just stop at that, for He Himself came into this world in order to save us all, and He did just that by raising Himself up as the Lamb of the perfect offering and sacrifice in atonement for all of our sins and rebelliousness against God. And He gave us His own Body and His own Precious Blood, so that all of us who share in His Body and Blood, that is the Eucharist we receive worthily, will also share in the eternal life He has promised us.
Yes, this is because God Himself dwells within each and every one of us. Just as St. Paul rightly put it, when he said of each one of us as the Temples of God’s Most Holy Presence, the Temples of His Holy Spirit, for God Himself is within us, as we share His Precious Body and Blood, and as we too have received the Holy Spirit that He had sent to all who believe in Him and remain faithful to Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us reflect on all this, as we approach the day of Christmas tomorrow. Let us know and understand, and realise that Christmas is not just a joyous celebration of our Lord’s coming and birth into the world, but it should also be a moment when we give thanks to God and strive to do our best in order to make ourselves ever worthy to be the dwellings of our Lord Most High.
May God continue to bless us all in everything and in all of our endeavours, so that we may grow ever stronger in our love and dedication for Him. May He continue to guide us on our path, and may this Christmas be a moment for us to understand even deeper how much God has loved us that He was willing to suffer for us and to be one like us, and to be united with us by the giving of His own Precious Body and Blood for our salvation. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.