Homily: Christmas Morning

Early Morning Mass 2015
Isaiah 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:15-20

Christmas Day has come. The preparation is over, the fever of shopping has broken, stillness and silence greet the dawn of this new day; and what have we? Almost indiscernibly, today’s dawn brings something new. The world seems no different than it was yesterday, the sun rises, and this evening it will set. War and fear still threaten the earth. Tears still fall. Yet, there is something different today. Like the Shepherds, we must say, “let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”

The Angel announces, “Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy.”
Christmas morning is the promise of the new heaven and the new earth. This is the day longed for by the prophets of old. This Christmas morning is the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promise to save his people.

We gaze into the crib this day. We see the Baby and His Holy Mother.

Did you notice what St Luke tells us happens at the end of the story today? When the Shepherds returned home after seeing, they were changed. They went home rejoicing! And why? “Because it was exactly as they had been told!” The tidings of great joy were not just for the Shepherds, they were to be shared with all the people. They were for you and for me.

In Bethlehem on this morning, there is a blessed Messiah born.  In the light of this early morning, we look around. We gather with our families and our friends, we gather as the Church. Today, we witness that God’s Word is not, and never has been, empty. What God says, he means. Today, he says to you and me, do not be afraid!

We will leave here and return to our homes. Gifts will be opened, food and drink consumed. Soon, the holiday season will end, but what we celebrate today will never end. When we do go on from here, we too, should be like the shepherds, singing for joy! When the Christmas decorations are back in their boxes, our hearts should still be celebrating the birth of our saviour. Jesus Christ is born. The Angels sing God’s praise, the Shepherds rejoice. This joy, to be shared by all the people, has reached our ears. We, too, sing and rejoice: and why, because it is exactly as we have been told!