Christmas Homily from Father Francis Maple.
What a wonderful day is Christmas. Everyone seems happy and full of good cheer and so it should be. But what does Christmas mean to you and me, to other people and to God?
It breaks my heart to say that for many Christmas day can be summed up in the words, "Eat drink and be merry", just having what some would say a good time. There are some who don't even know the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Their celebrations can be summed up in the story of this little boy. A teacher wanted to begin spiritually preparing her class for Christmas. Her first question was, "Who was born in a stable?" One little boy put up his hand and said, "Miss, I was most certainly not born in a stable!" Neither did he know that the Lord Jesus was born in one. If you were to ask him what Christmas was all about he would tell you about Santa Claus and the presents he would receive. That and nothing more.
If you were to ask God what Christmas means to Him He would tell us it was the fulfilment of the plan He formed before time began. That it was always His intention to be loved perfectly by one of His creatures. He created men and women in His own image. They were the pinnacle of His creation. It was His will that in return one of these creatures should love Him perfectly. This is where His Son volunteered to be that Person. It was as if His Son said, "Father, I will be the One to love You perfectly."
Now He would have to find a woman who would accept to be the mother of His Son. The woman He chose was Mary, the virgin girl from Nazareth, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph. God prepared her to be His Son's mother by giving her the unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception and being sinless all her life. Mary accepted this vocation with the words, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me." Those are the happiest words ever said by a descendant of our first parents. When Mary said those generous words, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God the Son was conceived in her womb. Nine months later Jesus was born in Bethlehem. That's what Christmas means to God and that's what Christmas means to you and me.
We thank God our Father that despite our sinfulness and our coldness every year He allows us to celebrate the birthday of His Son. Jesus, we thank You for becoming a man for us and for raising our human nature to such an exalted level. We thank Mary for being the chosen person to bring Jesus to us for without her there would have been no Jesus. We thank you Joseph for the protection you gave Jesus and Mary your wife.
Lord Jesus, we celebrate your birthday. We want to have a worthy heart prepared for You. Please help us to make it warm and comfortable. Make up what is lacking in our poor efforts to please You. O King of Glory, may our every thought, word and deed of this day be a fitting homage for Your coming.
Father Francis Maple