Christmas: for some, the end; for us, the beginning


Homily for Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Midnight Mass

For the next twenty-for hours or so, people all over the world will be celebrating Christmas. For the stores, TV, and radio stations, Christmas Day is the end of the main part of the holiday season. New Year’s is still on the way, but in some ways it’s almost like a postscript to Christmas, because people don’t give each other New Year’s gifts or buy lots of New Year’s decorations. For them, Christmas is basically over.

But for us as Catholics, Christmas is not an end, but a beginning. The Church’s Christmas season literally begins today, and lasts until the Feast of the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6. December 26 is the first of the famous 12 Days of Christmas.

More profoundly, Christmas is the beginning of God showing Himself to us in a new way. Jesus had already been alive for 9 months in Mary’s womb, but He was only really known to very few people. Tonight, the curtain opens on the drama of Jesus’ life. He starts making friends and enemies before He can even speak or walk. He is rejected with his parents at the inns of Bethlehem. Angel choirs announce His birth to the shepherds watching over their flocks by night, who receive the news with wonder and joy. A star appears proclaiming the birth of a king to the Magi, who will come from the east to see him (and whose arrival we celebrate on the feast of the Epiphany). That same star, when explained to King Herod, will move him to murder innocent children in a desperate and misguided attempt to protect himself from an imaginary threat to his political power.

The Son of God, Who existed before the world was created, and through Whom the world began, begins His life as a helpless, poor, beautiful little baby. He comes to share our life, so He can give us His life. He comes to live among us, so He can die for us, and raise us up with Him after death. The beginning of His life is the beginning of our new life.

Christmas is the beginning, not the end. Let us look upon the infant Jesus, represented in our nativity scene; let us receive Him in the Eucharist. May this moment be a new beginning in our own lives, of renewed efforts to love God above all things, and to love all people as Jesus loves us. For “today in the city of David a Savior has been born for us, who is Christ and Lord.”

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About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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