Christmas night mass Year C 24/12/2021 Lk 2,1-14
Many of us may participate in different Christmas Carols this year. We can see also the children playing Christmas story.
They love to dress up as angels or shepherds or the three kings. Sometimes, one of them plays the role of the guiding star. There, they recognize that the central character in the crib is the child Jesus.
I don’t know if any of you knows about the Neapolitan Nativity Scene – from Naples Italy. I don’t know neither. But I have seen the photos in which there are many people, many activities. And the Crib where there are Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus is not in the centre of the Nativity Scene but far on the left or right side.
And pope Francis said “When the Word becomes flesh, he is not immediately at the center of the human scene, but on the "periphery" of all the agitation of our world, even in his most daily activities.
We have heard today Gospel, the message of the angels to the shepherds: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:11-12). there is nothing extraordinary, nothing magnificent given to the shepherds as a sign. It’s really simple, they will see is a child wrapped in swaddling clothes. He does not lay in a cradle but in a manger, outside of the village, and far away from business places.
This simplicity shows that God comes to us as a babe — defenceless. And I would say, he want nothing from us than our love and our trust as God gives his only son to us to be taken care which we spontaneously learn to live and give to him.
I participated in a Christmas Carol at the Tabernacle church last week and the director of the Hospital gave a talk saying that he was happy to go through the time of Covid with his team because there was a lot of trust in each other so that they could overcome that difficult time. For him, look at the Jesus’ birth story, there was a lot of trust as well.
It’s true. Remember the story of John the Baptist, the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Marry, the dream of St Joseph and today is the story of the birth of Jesus. Mary accepted her part in the Mystery of the Incarnation with all its terrible consequences. And Joseph did not even say anything. He did what the angel tell him.
All their difficulties, all their troubles at the beginning seems messy from a human point of view and, yet, God was present there bringing light into the darkness. Joseph, Mary, Zachariah discovered that God shone a great light into the darkness of a confusing and disturbing situation. As Jesus brings it today as the first reading said “the people walked in darkness has seen a great light” Is 9. However they also showed us their trust in God’s plan by saying yes, and doing it.
St Paul said “ what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitious” Titus 2, 12.
God loves us, trusts us. He gives his son for us. Jesus is there, closer to us. Shall we be able to see him, find him, trust him? and having found him, shall we go to meet him, put him in the centre of our lives as he came to ours?
Children can help us to wonder at the deeper mystery of Christmas, which can easily get lost amid all the comings and goings of this time of year. We can ask ourselves tonight, what are we willing to do for God? How can we follow Mary and Joseph’s example, for them Jesus is always at the centre. Into the poverty and fragility of our human lives Christ is born for us tonight. Into the fragility of sickness, anxiety and sin, he comes to minister healing, security and forgiveness.
The gift is always well covered, well “ wrapped”, sometimes with its really simple cover. And we will be surprised once we open it. The gift of God, his only Son, it is covered “wrapped in a swaddling clothes”.
The gift of God is valuable and it makes sense for our life only when we have faith in him, trust him, accept his presence in our heart, and put him at the centre of our lives.