My Podcast for Audio
Dec 25: Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord, Midnight
Readings: Is 9:1-6 Tt 2:11-14 Lk 2:1-14
Today our Savior is born for us, bringing light into a dark world; bringing news of great joy into the world. My first Midnight Christmas celebration was in 1956. I was about 15, at the end of my second year in a Catholic School. This Christmas was very special to me as I was baptized that morning, and received my first Holy Communion at the Midnight Mass. That Christmas celebration was not just a biblical story for me, but a living event of Christ becoming one of us; taking on our flesh in order to save us. That day I experience the presence of Christ born and living in our midst. As the opening procession started, I heard the choir sing the hymn “Adeste Fideles” (O come O Ye Faithful), but as I could not understand or see the choir loft, the music in Latin sounded angelic. As a newly converted Catholic, I thought I was in heaven! More than two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened. A child was born of the Virgin Mary. That is why at Christmas we joyfully celebrate the Good News announced by the Angel that night: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". We join Christians around the world in celebrating this joyful event of Christ in our midst, the Son of God, who assumes our human flesh, born of the Virgin Mary. When we receive a precious gift, we rejoice because it is a sign that someone loves us. God’s gift of himself to us in the Incarnation, is therefore clear evidence of God’s tremendous love and goodness to us. During the last 4 weeks of Advent, we have prepared ourselves for Christmas, the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in the first reading of the Midnight Mass. "For there is a child born for us, a son is given to us". That is why at Christmas we rejoice because the salvation promised us is now ful¬filled; our Savior is born; a Savior who brings light into the world. "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone".
The readings tonight lead us into great joy and gratitude before the mystery of the child who is born of Mary. On that first Christmas at Bethlehem, a great light shone in the darkness. Christ our Savior was born of Mary and laid in a manger, "because there was no room for them in the inn". The birth of Christ takes place in poor surroundings in order to attract the attention of the shepherds. Through Christ God's grace is revealed to the poor. By his birth in this world of darkness and confusion, the God who became man shows us his will to assume in himself the entire humanity; to raise it up and integrate it into God’s loving plan of salvation. Today’s Gospel very carefully sets the tone both for the personal lifestyle of Jesus and the purpose for which he has come, to share his peace, love, joy and compassion. Like the shepherds who went with haste and shared the good news, we Christians are also called to go with haste and share the good news. As Christians, we are entrusted by God with a call to give witness by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, as a right and duty, both individually and collectively, to make the Divine message of salvation known and accepted by all people throughout the world. This duty is even more pressing when it is only through us as individual persons that some may ever come to hear the Gospel and know Jesus Christ. What message do we take home this Christmas? 1) We are invited to go along with the shepherds to Bethlehem and see what has happened there, according to message of the Angel, who brings news of great joy. "Today a Savior has been born" to us. 2) We are invited to meditate with Mary and Joseph on the mystery of God’s presence, and to express our joy in the words of the Angel: "Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace to people who enjoy his favor". 3) Christmas is about making room for Christ in our hearts; making room for all into our lives, especially the less fortunate. As we make room for Christ in our hearts, may Christ bring us great joy, peace and happiness this Christmas coming week, and throughout the coming Year. I wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
©2009 John Mbinda
Homily & Music