Tuesday, December 25, 2018


December 25, 2018

John 1.1-14

+ I know I say this every year on Christmas Day.  But one of my greatest pleasures
in life is doing the Christmas morning Mass.

Yes, I know. Christmas Eve is beautiful. Really beautiful.

But Christmas morning.  I don’t know. It’s just just…something special.  I think that is what Christmas Day is all about.  This sense of it all being just…a bit more holy and complete.

The great Trappist monk and poet, Thomas Merton, once wrote this poem. I love it:

Make ready
for the Christ
whose smile,
like lightning
sets free
the Song
of everlasting
that now sleeps
in your paper
flesh like

For me, that captures perfectly this strange feeling I have experiencing this morning how I LOVE a Christmas Day mass

And now—this morning— Christmas is here. This morning, we celebrate the Light of God. And we celebrate the Word of God (as we heard in our Gospel reading for this morning).  We celebrate the Light that has come to us in our collective and personal darkness.  We celebrate the Light that has come to us in our despair and our fear, in our sadness and in our frustration, even in our deepest grief. And we celebrate this Word that has been spoken to us—this Word of hope.

This Word of God is actually present among us in Christ
“whose smile,
like lightning
sets free
the Song
of everlasting

When we think long and hard about this day, when we ponder it and let it take hold in our lives, what we realized happened on that day when Jesus was born was not just some mythical story.  

It was not just the birth of a child under dire circumstances, in some distant, exotic land.  

What happened on that day was a joining together—a joining of us and God.  God met us half-way by sending us the very Son of God.  God came to us in our darkness, in our blindness, in our fear—and cast a light that destroyed that darkness, that blindness, that fear.

 God didn’t have to do what God did.  God didn’t have to send the Son of God—the Word of God, the Messiah, the Anointed One—to us.  But by doing so, God showed us a remarkable intimacy.

I love this great quote from the great Dominican theologian, Meister Ekhart:

“What good is it  if Mary gave birth to the Son of God [two thousand years ago]? I too must give birth to the Son of God in my time, here and now. We are all meant to be the mothers of God. God is always needing to be born.”

I love that quote and I think it’s very true.  

God is needing to be born! 

We need to be the people through whom the Son of God is born again and again in this world. We need to bring God into reality in this world again and again.


Because God is a God of love.  Because we are loved by God. Because we are accepted by God. Because we are—each of us—important to God.  We are, each of us, broken and imperfect as we may be some times, very important to God. Each of us.

And because we are, we must love others. We must give birth to our God so others can know this amazing love as well.

Knowing this amazing love of God changes everything.  When we realize that God knows us as individuals.  That God loves us and accepts each of us for who we are, we are joyful. We are hopeful of our future with that God. And we want to share this love and this God with others.

That is what we are celebrating this morning. Our hope and joy is in a God who comes and accepts us and loves us for who we are and what we are—a God who understands what it means to live this sometimes frightening uncertain life we live.  This is the real reason why we are joyful and hopeful on this beautiful morning.  This is why we are feeling within us a strange sense of longing. 

God is here.

God is in our midst today.

God is so near, our very bodies and souls are rejoicing. And God loves us.

Last night at Christmas Eve Mass I quoted the great Anglican poet Christina Rosetti (my mother’s favorite poet) put it more eloquently:

 Love came down at Christmas,
love, all lovely, love divine;
love was born at Christmas:
star and angels gave the sign.

That is what we are experiencing this day.

Love came down.

Love became flesh and blood.

God’s Love for us became human.

And in the face of that realization, we are rejoicing today.  We are rejoicing in that love personified.  We are rejoicing in each other.   We are rejoicing in the glorious beauty of this one holy moment in time.

See, it really is a glorious morning!

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