It's only the Second Sunday of Advent but...

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

(For the musical piece of this homily, please give a listen above!)

I love the season of Advent
and I try to “keep it” as a time of preparation,
doing what I can not to celebrate Christmas before it gets here.

But with the whole world “going Christmas” all around me
– it’s not easy –
and sometimes, I just give in!
Haul out the holly!
Put up the tree before my – spirits fall again!
Fill up the stockings, I may be rushing things but
deck the halls again now:
For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute,
candles in the window, carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute,
we need a little Christmas, now!
I know I’m supposed to wait, but waiting isn’t always easy.
It’s not easy for children – and it’s not easy for many adults.
Even if you’re only waiting for Christmas to be OVER – it’s not easy!

So,  I’ve started writing my “What I Want for Christmas” letter
- but I don’t write to Santa Claus, I go right to the top – to God.

So I thought I’d share this year’s first draft with you…
Dear God,
I “need a little Christmas”
and I’m not sure I can wait for December 25 to arrive.
I don’t mean to sound impatient, but I need a little Christmas
“right this very minute” – just like the song says.
So here’s what I want for Christmas, Lord…

I want peace – and I want lots of it.
I want peace in every place where daily life is marked by
oppression, war, violence and terrorism.
I want peace for our troops who stand in harm’s way
and I want an end to any war not worth waging.
And I want peace for my family, my friends – and for me.
I want peace that lasts,
the kind of peace that only you can give.
That’s why I need a little Christmas, Lord,
because it’s your birthday and you’re the Prince of Peace.

And for the Church and for my parish this Christmas,
I want a real homecoming.
Not just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
but one that lasts, Sunday after Sunday, into the New Year,
bringing home especially those who’ve been away,
who’ve been wounded by the Church,
who are angry and mistrustful.
I want a Christmas star in the sky again,
guiding home all whose hearts are seeking you.

And for those who are alone, and those who are lonely,
and for those who grieve the loss of a loved one this Christmas,
I want Mary, your Mother, to comfort and console them.
I want the season’s joy to remind them
of how much you love them
and how important they are to all of us.
I want angels and shepherds to guide and tend us
in caring for one another through the holidays.
For those in troubled families and marriages, Lord,
(and for parents everywhere who worry over their children)
I want those gifts that all of us need:
patience… understanding… compassion… healing…
and forgiveness…

For Christmas, give us the love and humility we need
to be kind to one another -- even to those who aren’t kind to us.

And here are some more gifts, Lord,
I want to find under our trees and stuffed in our stockings:
- truth to help us make good decisions and wise choices;
- work for the unemployed;
- medicine for the sick;
- care for the elderly; respect for all living beings;
- justice for the oppressed; and freedom for those held captive.

I know I’m asking for a lot, Lord. I want so much.
But please don’t think me selfish.

Two-thirds of the world’s people are underfed or starving,
and so many lack even the humble shelter of your stable.
We “need a little Christmas”
to remind us that it’s your birthday, Lord;
that you and the poor wait for us
who have more than we need,
you wait for us to change the structures
that keep the poor poor while the rich grow richer.

We “need a little Christmas,” Lord,
to remind us it’s not all about the toys and clothes and electronics
we want and hope to get.
It’s about how much we already have -- and need to share --
and what we need to give, generously,
to those whose needs are so much greater than our own.

So many of the gifts I’m asking of you, Lord,
are already mine to give, to share with those around me,
in my family, among my friends at school and at work,
in my parish and wherever there are people in need.

Gifts like these don’t cost a lot of money
but to give them means I’ll have to spend myself – for others,
even as you spent yourself for me, Lord…
Well, that’s the latest draft of my Christmas wish list for God.

Once again this year,
I see that I’m quicker to tell the Lord what I want from him
than to listen to hear what he might want from me this Christmas.
After all: it’s his birthday: he should get the presents!

There’s no Christmas tree here, no stockings are hung,
but there’s a table in our midst
and even today we’ll find here the very same gift we received
on the first Christmas, 2000 years ago.

Here, in the Eucharist, we’ll find, we’ll be given, the Son of God.
He came to us in the flesh, born in a stable in Bethlehem,
and he comes to us this morning in his Body and Blood
in Communion.

Pray that this gift open our eyes to the gifts we really need
and, more importantly,
to the gifts we really need to give to others.

We don’t need to wait until December 25th to find the Lord.
He’s already here with us, “right this very minute”
in our prayer, in our hearts and in our waiting…
Yes, we need a little Christmas,
right this very minute,
we need a little Christmas – now…


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