Homily for December 6, 2015

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

Audio for homily


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! 

And I knoooow 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 with you my first draft of this year’s letter…

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 be impatient, but I need a little Christmas
“right this very minute” – just like the song says.
And… 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 threatened and scarred
by terrorism, oppression,  violence and war.
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 my parish this Christmas,
I want a real homecoming, Lord.
Not just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
but one that lasts, Sunday after Sunday, into the New Year,
bringing home those who’ve been away,
those wounded by the Church, who are angry and mistrustful.
I want a Christmas star in the sky again,
guiding home all whose hearts long for you and seek 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.
I want angels and shepherds to guide and tend us
in caring for one another through the holidays.
And for those in troubled families and marriages, Lord,
(and for all parents who worry about their children)
I want those gifts that all of us need:
patience… perseverance… understanding… compassion…
healing…   and forgiveness…
For Christmas, Lord, give us the love and humility we need
to be kind to one another -- even to those who aren’t kind to us.

• And, Lord, I want comfort and relief,
for those whose plates are filled to overflowing
with illness, bills, worries, anxieties,  and fears about the future.
I want some consolation for those
whose troubles seem to have no end.

• And that’s not all, Lord:
Piled under the tree and stuffed in stockings, I want to find:
- truth, to help us make good decisions and wise choices
- work, for the unemployed 
- medicine, for the sick, everywhere
- care, for the elderly
- respect,  for all living beings;
- recovery, for the addicted
- justice, for the oppressed
- peace of mind, for the depressed
- safety and shelter, for refugees
- and freedom, for those held captive.

I know I’m asking for a lot, Lord. I want so much,
maybe even too 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, 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 want, 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.

Most of these gifts don’t even 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…

And 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 is his birthday and he should get the presents!

There’s no Christmas tree here in the sanctuary,
no stockings are “hung by the altar with care.”
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, some 2000 years ago.
Here, in the Eucharist,
we’ll find, we’ll be given, we’ll receive: the gift of God’s own Son.
He came to us in the flesh, born in a stable in Bethlehem,
and he comes to us today in his Body and Blood in Communion.

Pray that this gift of the Eucharist open our eyes  and our hearts
to the gifts we really need  --  and, more importantly,
to the gifts we need to give to others - who really need so much.
We don’t need to wait until December 25th to find the Lord.
He’s already with us, here, “right this very minute”
in our prayer, in our hearts, in our waiting and in Communion, 

Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute,
we need a little Christmas – now…


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