Christmas Day 2020 – Fr. Rick Sherman
Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6.; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18
Gospel Acclamation: “For today a great light has come upon the earth.”
This is the best news possible to those living in darkness. For Israel, or Jerusalem, which ultimately represents the whole human race, has been granted clemency. The first reading today from the prophet Isaiah proclaims, “Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The people in fact have been living in ruins. Due to their infidelities they lost their prominence among nations and had been in exile in the Babylonian desert for 70 years. Now they have been liberated and must go back and rebuild. For the devout Israelite, this was a time of great rejoicing.
The gospel according to John today tells us that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God.” And later that “the Word became flesh” and “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
So we see that the Light was for the whole human race, down through the ages… a race that is clouded by darkness. Since sin entered the world all humans have been living in different degrees of darkness or fog. We have an illusion of being in control of our own destinies and confident in our own judgements and wisdom. It seems that each generation is discredited to different degrees in our abilities to bring justice and peace into the world. Only God can do that.
The big point though, on Christmas, is that God came so personally into our world to be among us. This God was born into very humble circumstances, a child laid in a manger and dressed in swaddling clothes. We heard in the gospel last evening that the coming of this savior child was first announced to the shepherds. Those who stayed up all night watching the animals. This is not exactly a privileged group of people. Last evening in the readings we were also reminded that the Lord came to rescue a people in gloom, living the darkness.
This scenario can easily be applied to any age including our own. We can be living in all sorts of darkness and gloom, physical, emotional, spiritual. We always need the personal presence of God in our lives. We always need Jesus. To the end of the ages.
This is what we celebrate today. Emmanuel. God among us. He has personally entered into our world in our vulnerability and pain and in all our good fortune and graced-filled lives. In all circumstances, God is with us and has commissioned us to be that personal presence to others, especially the most vulnerable.
This week, please take a little more time to sit quietly and thank God PERSONALLY for His presence among us in all circumstances. Ask Him PERSONALLY for the help you need.
Take advantage of opportunities to learn how to recognize His presence and how to reach out to others. We have a very fine, generous community of believers here at St. Christopher’s who make a substantial effort to be present to each other and to reach out to some of the more vulnerable in the wider community and throughout the world. Surely God is among us.
Please see in the bulletin today (or in Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages on the website) some opportunities to learn more about Christ in the world. But most of all during this entire Octave of Christmas, REJOICE that God is really and truly among us!!