Christmas Homily 2015

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 Homily for Christmas 2015
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily

Come they told me               
            Pa rum pum pum pum
A newborn king to see         
            Pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring     
            Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the king         
            Pa rum pum pum pum,
            Rum pum pum pum,
            Rum pum pum pum
So to honor him                    
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come…

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of that song.

Still, there’s a truth in these lyrics that can’t be denied.
In fact there are several truths in this simple tune’s wisdom,
the first of which is this:
none of us – not just the little drummer boy –
none of us has a gift to offer Jesus on his birthday
that’s fit for the One we come to honor.
And since we believe that it’s through him
that all things were made,
all things visible and invisible:
the best we can really do is re-gift back to the Lord
what was, in the first place, his gift to us.

And that leads us to a second truth in the song:
Jesus desires nothing of us
– nothing more than what he’s already given us.
There’s a problem here.
The problem is that we’ve pretty much roughed up,
scratched, dented,  broken, wasted and thrown away
many of the gifts he gave us.

And he knows that.  That’s good news –
because he understands that.

And so it’s precisely what’s broken
and most in need of fixing
that Jesus most desires for us to offer him.

• It’s our woundedness that he invites us to return to him
for healing.

• It’s what we’ve handled roughly, scratched and dented
that he asks we bring back to him to be restored.

• It’s our hands,
empty of the gifts we’ve wasted or thrown away ,
it’s our empty hands he wants us to offer him
that he might fill them again.

• It’s all our losses and our grief
that he waits to receive from us
that he might give us his peace and consolation.

Whatever we’ve done
with the blessings, talents and gifts we’ve received,
Jesus invites us to bring it all back to him:
with thanksgiving for all we’ve been given;
with contrition for what we’ve bruised and damaged;
with hope for a second chance to do better;
with trust that Jesus loves the simplest gifts we bring
and treasures every single one of them

And that reveals another Christmas truth and it is this:
the greatest gift of all gifts we’ve received
is Jesus himself.

Everything else God’s given us
pales in contrast to the gift we find
in the Child born in Bethlehem,
because in Jesus we are given the love of God:
God’s love for us, for each and every one of us,
without exception.

• In Jesus we receive, again and again and again,
pardon for all the ways we sin against the gift of God’s love.

• In Jesus we are given a word of wisdom,
a light to shine on our worries, fears, anxieties and grief,
a wisdom to help us move
from yesterday, through today and into tomorrow.

• In Jesus we are given the only hope that truly lasts
for what we hope for in Christ is another life, yet to come,
a life promised to us,
a life when all shall be well, and all shall be well
and all manner of things shall be well…

So if all your Christmas shopping is done
and you realize now, at midnight, on Christmas Eve
that you didn’t get anything for Jesus -
have no worry.
The only gifts he desires from you and me are these:
who we are,
what we carry in our minds and hearts,
and whatever within us and in our lives needs
mending, repair, healing, pardon, refreshment,
replacement and fulfillment.

That’s really all he wants –
and that’s really all we have to give him…

At Christmas time we look to the crèche,
in the gathering room here,
across the street in front of Monument Hall,
or in our living rooms at home.
And there we’ll find an image of Jesus
made of china, porcelain, resin or wood,
intended to remind us
of the gift of God’s love for us in Christ.

But here at his table, every week, not just at Christmas,
here at this table we’ll find HIM,
in his Body and Blood, in the gift of the Eucharist.

The word Bethlehem means House of Bread.
How wonderful that Jesus should be born in Bethlehem:
Jesus who chooses to dwell in the Bread of our altar,
that he might dwell with us,
that we might consume him and take him into our hearts,
that our hearts might become the dwelling place
of him who is the Bread of Life.

No greater gift, no greater love is ours
than the gift of God’s love for us in Jesus.

Let us give him thanks and praise
along with all the gifts we’ve roughed up,
scratched, dented, broken, wasted and thrown away,
the ones he really wants us to hand back to him,
and let us rejoice in the birth of him
who treasures each of us
and treasures every gift we offer him.


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