Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Vigil Midnight Year A B C

Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". Christmas is not just a Bible Story but a miracle that takes place in our lives. On a small mountain village, the pastor invited two children to play the parts of Joseph and Mary in the nativity scene that was to take place after the Midnight Mass. The scene was set to be in a cave behind the parish church. The original idea was to use a doll for the Baby Jesus, but the two children, Joe and Marie wanted a real infant among the families of the parishioners. No parent wanted to give their baby. As Christmas approached, the two kids were so desperate, but never gave up. They end up praying to the Holy Family for help, and the story comes to a climax when the Virgin Mary invisibly places the real Infant Jesus in Marie’s arms. No one in the village realizes what has happened, but a miracle of conversion takes place in the hearts of all present that Christmas Night! As the Christmas Nativity play starts, parishioners are in tears with joy and so deeply touched. Before that Christmas night, the kids just like the adults in the village had been so mean to each other, with lots of anxiety at home and at school. That night they were all transformed. The kids become great friends and kind to each other. They changed because the Baby Jesus was not just a story, but real and born in their hearts that night. They had been disobedient and rude to their parents, but that night they felt so loved that they promised to be not just nice, but the best version of themselves to their parents and to each other. The Baby Jesus had changed them all, because they realized that Christmas was not just about getting Christmas presents, but about Jesus being born in the hearts of everyone.

Like the story on that mountain village parish, the event of the nativity tonight transforms us miraculously into a joyful sharing community; into letting go our selfishness and allowing Jesus to be God-with-us, Emmanuel. The miracle of Christmas is about God finally finding room in the inn, in our hearts where Jesus can be born; it is about opening our hearts so that Jesus may fill them with his life, peace and joy. Christmas is about being like the shepherds who open their hearts to the Good News of the angel, and going in haste to share that good news. We are therefore called to go in haste to Bethlehem and share the good news with the world around us. The one message we take home this Christmas is simple. “Transforming people one at a time is at the heart of God’s plan for the world.” Jesus is born in Bethlehem today in order to transform us just like that village parish community in the story. Christmas is about opening our hearts so that God in Christ born of Mary, may touch our hearts and lives with his transforming Grace. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

©2016 John S. Mbinda

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