- At Christmas time we remember once again God’s intervention in the lives of his people – his decision to bring light into darkness, to give a reason for hope to those who have none, to bring liberty to those enslaved in so many different ways, to be strength for the weak and helpless in a cruel world.
- Today on Christmas Day we remember God’s solution to all of this:
The birth of a child of poor parents in a shelter for animals in a town in which they were strangers.
- ‘A rather strange solution to the world’s troubles’, the learned and the powerful would say. ‘That’s not how problems are tackled. There must be planning, evaluation, structures, personnel. How can there be meaningful change without these? Bethlehem/stable/child – nonsense!’
- And indeed to the wise of this world it was indeed nonsense. The only problem with this is that we are talking about God and, as we know, with God all things are possible.
- How could the birth of this helpless child in the stable at Bethlehem bring about the peace on earth the angels were singing about? Bring the good news to the poor and fulfil all the other beautiful promises Isaiah prophesied? This would happen not because a child was born but because this was the Saviour, the One who would rescue us from all that a broken world has in store for us – despair, heartache, sorrow, pain – a world in which all too often things don’t work out for us.
- Sensible people would call the events and promises of Christmas just a beautiful dream and pass on, maybe subconsciously paraphrasing Mary’s question: How can this come about?
- And the answer to Mary’s question is that we must always remember we are dealing with the power and the wisdom of the all-powerful God – not men bound by their limitations. With God all things are possible but in his way and in his time.
- And so the birth of our Saviour in the stable is not God flooding the darkness with light ……….. but the lighting of a candle in a dark world that was a beginning …… like the ripples caused by a stone thrown on the water.
- What is important for us is not what happened in Bethlehem and the stable but what happens in each of our individual hearts – the hope re-kindled, the strength renewed, the realisation that we are the salvation offered to the world in our time.
- That we offer hope to the hopeless, bread to the hungry, comfort to those in desolation, freedom to those in slavery, strength to the weak and salvation to the lost.
CHRIST IS TRULY BORN TODAY IN EACH OF OUR HEARTS. LET HIM RENEW THE FACE OF THE PART OF THE EARTH WE LIVE IN THROUGH US.
Fr Eddie O’Connor SMA