Sunday, December 25, 2016
Feast of the Nativity 2016: TODAY!
Sermon preached at the First Mass of Christmas 2016 at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis.
If there’s one thing that brings disorder to an ordered life, it’s the birth of a baby. Want a quiet meal? Someone wants to play see how far the puree can fly? Sleep patterns? I don’t think so! Want to read? No, let’s play guess the smell. The arrival of a baby throws our established patterns into chaos. And yet, isn’t it wonderful?
With the birth of a baby, we are given a whole new opportunity to look with completely fresh eyes on things. We present the way life works to a new little person with their own thoughts, their own personality and their own way of telling you that you’ve got it so wrong that you’re embarrassing.
It doesn’t matter if this is not your first baby, you’re still sailing uncharted territory as someone new learns about you. Our Lord bids us to suffer the little children to come to Him. This includes the little child within ourselves. Each of us was once new, and even if we think ourselves to be old, or “above that sort of thing” we are still living things new.
Today is always new, always special, always offering something to encounter. Yet, we have a tendency to try and grow up and leave the new behind and ensure that each day is no different from yesterday. Sometimes it is as if the terrible events in the World, and indeed in our own lives give us no choice but to grow up.
In a manger, a baby lies who has already disrupted the lives of a young woman and her husband.
This baby has already disrupted the common-place by being born of a virgin. His birth is announced by angels, and by astrological events, bringing surly shepherds and aloof academics alike to Bethlehem.
The birth of this child disrupts the life of a king who so wants to maintain the status quo that he will kill even the innocent to try and preserve his balance. This child’s birth is indeed a disruption to the old life of sin and law, of schedule and control, of standard and conformity to a world enshrouded in its own narrow-mindedness.
The chief end of the Devil is to ensure that we hate God and His Creation by boring us by it, by corrupting it and making it all common place so that we cannot see the newness of God’s Creation in a little thing called TODAY. We can resist by allowing that Child to disrupt our lives so that He becomes the centre. He comes to disrupt that cycle of offence and counter-offence by bidding us to forgive sins. He comes to disrupt that cycle of sin and guilt by bidding us to repent, turn and see His light. He comes to disrupt the very cycle of life and death, by dying horribly on a Cross and then rising from the dead to bring us to Salvation in unity with the Father Who made all things.
He bids us suffer the little children to come unto Him. He bids us suffer ourselves to come to Him by embracing the life of a child. You only have to look at a child to see what they can do that we adults often forget to do.
The capacity of a child to rejoice in the tiniest of things is immeasurable. This is what we must remember to do. THIS is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!