Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Time, Christmas Space

Sermon for the Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity.

Do you lose track of time between Christmas Day and the New Year? It's almost as if Time loses some of its meaning. We forget which day we're in and lose some of the rhythm of the week.

It is this period of time where it is the date that matters and not the day. Christmas Day is followed by St Stephen's Day, then by St John's Day, the Holy Innocents and St Thomas Becket. The Sunday in the Octave - today - can fall anywhere and even coincide with these feasts. It's a day when people are most likely to forget to come to Church and in which the clergy are trying to get their heads around all these feasts.

Today seems like a befuddlement.


If you think about it, the date is a fixed part of the year, and so is determined by our position relative to the Sun. The days of the week are not. They are determined by our position relative to the Moon. Christmas Day is fixed according to the Sun and Easter with the Moon.

Before you worry that we are going to fall into the sin of astrology, it's worth pointing out that our understanding of time is determined by the Sun and Moon. The mystery of the Incarnation is how God, who created Time, Sun and Moon, allows Himself to become subject to them by being born in Time.

How the great Eternal can become Temporal is a mystery. We can attempt to think about it and come up with theories, but we cannot understand this until the Sun and Moon cease to mark Time for us. All we know is that God took our humanity into His Divinity. It seems reasonable, then, that He takes our Time into His Eternity.

What does this mean for us?


We celebrate Christmas Day on 25th of December. And we do well to do so. Yet, we cannot separate Christmas Day from any other day because Christ is always with us on every day of the year. We feel this more keenly on Christmas Day but refreshed in our understanding that the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, we carry this throughout out year.

In the same way, we know Christ always to be present with us. We know that Presence more keenly and with greater clarity and focus in the Sacrifice of the Mass. We take that Presence with us out into our space.


Ultimately, we are promised that, upon our resurrection, we will not need the light of Sun and Moon because God Himself will be our Light. He will also be our Time as we worship Him in His glory.

This is why we need to bear Christmas and Easter in our hearts all year round, for doing do we carry Our Lord Jesus Christ with us to hallow our Time and our Space.

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