Today’s reflection is for the The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day, December 25, 2020, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of the homily can be viewed by clicking here.
My older sister lives with her three daughters here in Turlock, and when things break, she usually calls me to help her fix them. Just last month, my sister’s lawn irrigation pipe came apart and was flooding the street! I went over there, shut the water off, fixed the pipe, and attached a wall bracket to strengthen it so it wouldn’t break again. Since I was there, she had me add a hose hanger, fix the toilet paper roll holder, and put her fruit basket back together too! The same sort of thing happens at my mom’s house all the time. I go over there to fix one thing and there are five more things that need to be fixed. I’m handy. I have tools, I do the projects, give them my time, and am happy to help.
If someone were to see my truck, see me going in and out, and then ask the question, “Hey why did Steve go over to his sister’s house today?” The most obvious answer would be, “He went over there to fix a bunch of broken stuff.” And that would seem to make sense, but would not be entirely true. I went over there because I love her. Because I love my mom and sister, I go to their house and love them. That love manifests itself in a variety of ways–from fixing broken pipes to toilet paper rolls, but I didn’t go there because I’m a fixer. I went there because I’m a lover, and they (and their house) are the object of my love.
I hear all the time that the Word was made flesh because we sinned. My brothers and sisters, the Word was made flesh because God is love, and love doesn’t stay hidden, it reveals itself, it heals, it teaches, and it inspires us to do the same. The C.C.C. teaches that, “The Word became flesh in order to save us by reconciling us with God, and so that we might know God’s love, and to be our model of holiness, and to make us partakers of God’s own nature” (456-460).
Why in the world would the eternal God come to a cold and broken earth, take on human weakness, and get his hands dirty with sin, and sickness, and disease? Because God loves us that much, and gives us always a reason to hope–no matter how dark it gets.
Today we celebrate the humility of God, who out of love for us, left the good side of town, to drive across the tracks, and help fix up our house. Healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, liberating captives, giving site to the blind, cleansing lepers, forgiving sins, and then sacrificing His very life to conquer sin and death once and for all–that’s love! That’s the light that John was talking about today in the Gospel. “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”
God’s gift of himself brought light and truth, warmth, and hope for so many who live in darkness, and the light of Jesus Christ, still brings light, and truth, warmth, and hope…but not directly. We have become and must now be his light in the darkness. Christmas joy and light begins in us; in our heart. And that light radiates out beyond us so that Christ might be born in the hearts of others through us. That’s why we put lights on our house and on our tree, why we bake cookies and give gifts. We share the love of God that we have with others.
We are reconciled with God, know God’s love, share in His divine life, and follow his example. That’s why he came. That’s why we’re here today: to celebrate life, light, and truth…and to love and bring hope to a world where people still live in darkness–but a darkness that did not, and cannot overcome the light of the world that shines forth through you and me. Merry Christmas everyone. Even in this darkness, be hopeful, be joyful, reconcile with others, and shine brightly with the love of the Savior, whose birth we today celebrate. God bless you.