Homily: Christmas Midnight Mass 2015

Midnight Mass 2015
Isa 9:1-6; Ps 96:1-13; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14

Tonight, we bask in the light of a star that shines in the darkness. No matter how dark the night may be, we rejoice in the light of Christ that can never be diminished. The magic of Christmas is not what we see in the TV commercials, it is something infinitely more precious and powerful; it is God himself.

As the baby Jesus was born in the silence of the night, a voice echoed across the fields near Bethlehem, linking the glory of God in heaven with the peace of men on earth. The same voice later spread out from the countryside around Bethlehem to more and more places throughout the world, and today it echoes in the silence of Christmas night in every continent of the world. “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to men of good will”.

On the first Christmas, God was born in a stable, as if to show to what depths he would descend for love of humanity. Tonight, the magic we celebrate is that no matter where we find ourselves in life, how far we may stray from God and one another, God is always with us. That is the Good News!

As we approach Bethlehem this night, our emotions are touched by the grace of the season, and the reality of our lived experiences bring about a combination of our hopes and fears and our expressions of love and gratitude.

It can be so difficult for us to put into words the incredible mystery of God incarnate, and yet we know it well. Christmas Carols can help us explain and express that notion of God with us! Emmanuel! The scripture lays out the story before us. How do the readings this night speak to our yearnings, our desires for a world filled with the Light of Christ? And peace on earth to all people of good will?

Christmas is our communal recognition, our shared celebration, that God is with us still; God is still speaking, still acting in our lives and in the life of the world that God loves so well. God is still with us, as we celebrate, and we sing our carols this Christmas night. But how will we continue to sing these songs, in the days ahead? How is this night not only unlike all other nights, but indeed like every other night of our lives? 

Tonight, Christ is with us. Christ comes to dwell in our stable. He does not look for luxury; all he needs is an open heart. When he is welcomed in, he lavishes his gifts on us. That is the magic of Christmas. That is heaven on earth. God is indeed with us: Emmanuel!  

This Christmas, let us ask Him to touch our hearts with the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus, let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the baby Jesus, our Lord, who today once more comes to meet us. Amen.