Christmas Morning

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Amen.

Well, here we are: Christmas Morning! 

Christmas Day, I think, is a time of endings and beginnings.

For many people, it’s more or less the last day of Christmas: that season began at the start of December, maybe a little before even, when the radio started playing Slade and Wilko started selling lights and trees. Tomorrow, or as soon as they get round to it, a lot of the trees will come down, the lights be turned off, and it’ll be the start of the preparation for new year’s resolutions, counting down the biggest news stories and films of 2018, and so forth.

For Christians, however, Christmas Day is the end of the Advent period, and the start of the Christmas season, which lasts up until the Baptism of Jesus on January 13th, and we’re encouraged to keep celebrating for that whole period. So much for a dry January!

But more than that, Christmas marks the end of one period in Divine History, and the start of a new period – because God is with us, not just in the supernatural ways he used to appear in the Old Testament – as a burning bush, or a pillar of cloud – but as a human being just like us. But not just in disguise – like the Greek gods who used to dress up, as it were, as humans, but, as John says, the Word was made flesh, he lived among us– with all the things that go with it: hunger, and humour, and chicken pox, and crying – Mary would have seen in her baby everything any other parent would see in their child.

From here on things will never be the same: as the author of Hebrews said: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is.

I don’t know whether any of you are jigsaw fanatics, perhaps some of you are – if you get a Christmas Jigsaw this year, you have to puzzle it out to put it together. Where are the corners? Then the side pieces? Then the bits that look like they connect to such-and-such?

This is a little like what the letter to the Hebrews is saying: God spoke to our ancestors in lots of different ways, at lots of different times – and we needed to join those things together. But now, God has given us his son – it’s like suddenly we’re watching someone else do the puzzle for us – who knows exactly where each piece needs to go and doesn’t need to think about it. Jesus brings all those different fragments into focus.

St. John of the Cross, the Spanish monk who lived in the 17thcentury, said this:

In giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word.

That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.

St. John of the Cross goes on to tell us that when we ask questions of God now – as I’m sure many of us do, when we want to know what to do, or things that we don’t understand, or why something has happened to us or someone we care about – God points us to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus:

He continues:

God might answer him after this manner, saying: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.”

The old saying goes: Jesus is the reason for the season. Let’s look to him, and find the answer to all our words in the Word made Flesh.