Browsing Homilies

The Nativity of the Lord

25 December 2020

Mt 1:18-25 | Lk 2:15-20 | Jn 1:1-18

This has been a difficult and stressful year for so many of us. It has been particularly painful because the pandemic has kept us away from our loved ones. So many of us have not been able to spend time with our family, children, and grandchildren. Thankfully, we have technology to help us keep in touch and even see each other. But as good as that is, we know it’s not the same. Seeing our loved ones on a screen is not seeing them in person. We miss being able to hug them, hold their hands, kiss them, and have them near.

We feel it deeply this Christmas Eve and Day when we cannot be with so many of our family members. Many of us are also mourning loved ones who died this year, whether it was because of the pandemic or for other reasons. Not being able to console one another in person makes that grief even more unbearable.

If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is the value of relationships, the value of being together in person, the value of touch.

This pandemic also gives us some insight into the real meaning of Christmas.

In today’s society, many people view God as a being who keeps His distance from us. If they believe He even exists at all, they see Him as a private being, minding His own business, in a heaven far removed from the concerns of earth. We cannot reach Him and He has no real interest in reaching us. That pretty much sums up how our secular society views God.

This is not at all how the Bible reveals God to us. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph is a God of relationship. While he certainly works with great power throughout the universe, His love is for the human person. In fact, everything He does He does out of love for humanity: concrete, real human persons. Everything He does, He does for you and for me.

He is not a God who waits for people to call out to Him. Rather, He’s always reaching out to us, calling out to us, trying to get our attention; i.e., Michelangelo’s Creation of Man.

He is not a God who keeps His distance from us. Bette Midler’s song “From a Distance,” might sound beautiful, but it’s heresy! God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Just as we find it painful to be distant from the ones we love, so God finds it painful when we distance ourselves from Him. He wants to be in loving and intimate contact with us, and I can only fathom His hurt when we miss His call.

That is the meaning of this Christmas Day. God became man in Jesus Christ. God could no longer bear the distance perceived between us, and He broke that barrier by becoming one of us.

In Jesus Christ, the baby born in Bethlehem, we see God Himself. Everything we can say about Jesus we can say about God. And everything we can say about God, we can say about Jesus. Whoever sees Jesus, sees God. Whoever hears Jesus, hears God. Whoever touches Jesus, touches God. God did all this because He wanted to be close to us, His people.

In one of the second readings prescribed between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, we could have heard St. Paul proclaim: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, He has spoken to us through the Son.” The baby born in Bethlehem this day is God speaking to us, God reaching us, God telling us clearly that He loves us, and that He is not a God who wants to keep His distance, but a Dad who wants to love us and be involved.

Wouldn’t you do anything to be able to spend time with your loved ones again? God did just that. He did the impossible by becoming man in Jesus Christ so that He could be near us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

People who have a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ don’t share the world’s view of God as distant and disinterested. They see God at work in their lives each and every day. They sense Him sustaining them in their difficulties, providing for them in their need, and comforting them in their sorrow. They sense God calling them to serve others, to forgive when it seems impossible, and to reach out to the needy. They trust that God is in control when things seem out of control, and they feel certain that He will bring good out of whatever evil they see in the world. They have faith that the God who loved them enough to become man in Jesus Christ will do everything else for them as well.

This is what God wants for all of us - to be in a loving relationship with Him. This Christmas reveals to us that God will go to any length to reveal His love for us and to make that friendship with Him possible.

If God seems distant and disinterested to us, maybe it’s because we’re the ones who have been keeping our distance. Maybe we’re the ones who have been disinterested in Him. All it takes is to open our heart to Him and let Him in. It’s as simple as praying, “As you were born this day in Bethlehem, Lord Jesus, be born in my heart today.” That is one prayer that you can be sure Jesus will answer.

God became man so that we might become children of God. Saint John assures us of this: “ those who did accept Him he gave power to become children of God.” Jesus Christ approaches us in the most vulnerable way possible – as a baby.

Will you give Him room when so much of the world has pushed Him away?

Will you welcome Him into your heart and into your home today and in the year ahead?

Will you stop keeping your distance, and re-discover what it actually means – to touch God?


RSS Feed


Access all blogs

Subscribe to all of our blogs