Christmas Homily 2013

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Homily for Christmas 2013
(Scriptures for Mass)

Audio for homily

So, there's been a lot of wrapping going on:
paper and foil, gift bags and boxes, tags and tape, ribbons and bows…

It’s estimated that Americans spend
nearly $2.5 billion dollars every year 
on wrapping material for Christmas gifts.

Everyone’s been wrapped up in wrapping.

But I can’t help but wonder if what we really should be doing
is a little unwrapping – and I’m not talking about any early unwrapping
of gifts around the tree!

But there may be other things that need unwrapping.

• I  know how easily we can all get wrapped up in little things
while some big things that really matter go undone…
Might we pray this Christmas Eve:
unwrap us, Lord, and keep us mindful and faithful 
of what really deserves our attention…

• I know we get wrapped up in things that waste our time
and time is one of our most precious possessions…
So, unwrap us, Lord, and make us better stewards, better keepers
of our days and nights, our work and our play and our rest…

• We get wrapped up in daydreams and fantasies
and leave untended some realities we just don't want to face...
Unwrap us, Lord, and train our vision
on what’s real, what’s true, what we need to confront…

• We get wrapped up in desires for what we should not or cannot have 
or for what’s not ours…
Unwrap us from our envy and jealousy Lord,
and help us see and be thankful for all that we have…

• We get wrapped up in hurt and anger and, grudges and resentments,
that sap our energy and tire our soul…
Unwrap us, Lord, and free our hearts
to forgive those who’ve hurt and offended us…

• And we get wrapped up in our selves too:
in our fears and worries, our losses and disappointments…
Unwrap us, Lord,
and let us see all the blessings we’ve received:
the gifts of your presence, your comfort,
your mercy and your strength...

Unwrap us, Lord,
so that others can know and enjoy and share
the gifts we’re meant to be for one another…
Unwrap us, Lord,
so that nothing stands between us and your love
and the love of those around us…

Unwrap us, Lord, and accept our unwrapped naked hearts
as our gifts to you this Christmas.


Over 2,000 years ago
God wrapped himself in Mary’s womb for nine months,
a gift waiting to be delivered, to be opened:
the unwrapping of Divinity for all the world to see
and hold and cradle in its arms.

In Jesus born in Bethlehem,
there is the perfect union of all that is human and all that is divine.
In the sacrament of this altar, we meet the same Jesus.
Here he wraps himself in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist
that we might receive the gift of the Body and Blood,
the soul and divinity of God’s Word made flesh for us.
The wood of the manger becomes the wood of this altar
where Christ unwraps himself for us again.

With every gift we unwrap this Christmas
let’s pray for the Lord to unwrap us, too.
There’s no greater birthday gift we might offer the Lord than ourselves,
unwrapped of our pretense and pride,
of our selfishness and sin,
of anything that keeps us from the love of God
and the love of those around us.

Christmas is a time for unwrapping gifts.
Unwrap us, Lord – we need your help -
for we cannot unwrap ourselves.


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