28 December, 2011

Homily for Christmas Day 2011

The Word became flesh and lived among us
There was once a very little boy called Daniel whose parents worked long shifts in factories. Sometimes, Daniel would wake up at 4.00 in the morning as mum was getting ready to go to work. Dad worked nights and so a few hours would pass between mum leaving the house and dad returning. Daniel could not sleep during that time. Every creak of the empty house made his heart race, but most of all he would think of his mum and dad out in the bitter cold. 
He would hug a pillow really tight, and pray that somehow the same hug and warmth would accompany his parents and protect them until their return. He wanted to be with them though he knew this was not possible; a cold factory and a long walk in the dark are not meant for little boys.

There are many children like Daniel and they are all capable of unexpected and seemingly irrational displays of affection which we would not even dream of doing as adults. Equally, children are often more brave and selfless that what we would imagine, showing a willingness to share other people’s conditions in an attempt to make things better.

Little Daniel did not need to go with his parents to work; in fact, he could have rolled over to sleep, but out of his love for mum and dad he did all he could to share their condition. As ridiculous as his actions may have looked to others, Daniel’s desire would remain, probably because it originates in a compassion deep seated in the human heart; it is the same desire we feel when we see a loved one suffering and we would like to trade places with them or to take upon ourselves a share of their pain. Most probably, though it is the same desire found deep in the heart of God; a longing to experience the joys and difficulties of humanity by way of being with them.
The Word became flesh and lived among us
Today’s gospel uses an expression that is the linchpin of the Christians faith: the Word became flesh and lived among us. It means literally that God became one of us and pitched his tent with us as a fellow traveller, to share with us uncertainties and fears; and it all begun with a little baby born on the margin of society. 
What difference would a child make? What difference would the Child of Mary make? Especially when we still see humanity engaged in every sorts of violent and self-destructing behaviour. We are all still a bit greedy, a bit ignorant, and a bit selfish. Nations still go to war against each other; families still go to war against each other, for that matter.

How exactly is it possible that a little boy from Bethlehem would change these things? What difference can He make? The difference is that Jesus came into the world to share our conditions out of God’s love for us. He didn’t come as politician who would sort out the welfare state; neither he come to reign from an ivory tower, nor as a super hero. He came as a little child; as someone like me or you, moving about like we do, and experiencing all that we do; with the result of totally changing our sense of purpose and directions. 
The Word became flesh and lived among us 
Or, as a popular carol puts it
...day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.
Daniel’s love could do only as much to protect his parents, but as some say, is the thought that counts. God instead, came down from heaven to be with us as we walk to work, in factories, at home; everywhere. And so the message of Christmas is that we are not alone, God is truly with us because his love for us compelled Him to share in our condition. 
We are not alone, not in the great joy we experience today or in moments of terrible sorrow. He knows everything, our laughs and our secret scars; and the only thing He wants to do is be with us at all times to protect us and guide us. The little child of Bethlehem is here. Let us open our doors to him. 
Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ.


The Underground Pewster said...

Very nice.

Diego said...

Thank you. I just noticed your blog is not on my list. I'll update it soon enough though. :)

Abdur Rahman said...

Peace Diego,

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed coming across your blog recently. It's a fascinating insight into the Anglican communion.

Abdur Rahman