Christmas Carol Service 16th December

posted 20 Dec 2018, 02:13 by Parish Office

Homily for the Christmas Carol Service (16/12/18)


Have you ever thought what it would be like if there was no celebration of Christmas in this country?  It’s maybe in some ways a bit of a strange question, but let’s just run with it for a moment.  Just suppose, for whatever reason, Christmas was wiped off the national calendar.  No tinsel, no Christmas shopping, no time off from work or school for the 25th, no celebration, no meal, not even any Father Christmas.  Nothing.  What a miserable, boring time it would be.  We would just have winter.  The nights getting longer, the daylight getting shorter, the temperature falling, everything boring.  In the days of Communist Yugoslavia they didn’t totally ban Christmas, but they downplayed it, and tried to put all the emphasis instead onto the New Year.  But what’s New Year compared to Christmas?


Praised be to God, we do have Christmas.  We have the Christmas carols and songs, presents and the Christmas holidays.  We have Christmas crackers with silly jokes and little things that no one knows what to do with.  We have Christmas cake, turkey, sprouts, a Christmas tree, Christmas cards, decorations, song, laughter, joy, meeting up with family and friends, feeling appreciated and loved.  But best of all, at the heart of it all, we have Jesus.  God cares so much for us that He became one of us.  The Father sent His Son.  “The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Nothing can beat that.  No piece of technology can rival God becoming one of us, and to start with, being a baby.  Isn’t it amazing – God didn’t just beam down to earth as a fully-grown man, instead He was conceived of the Virgin Mary and was born as a baby.  The God who made the universe, with all the stars, became a helpless baby, relying on His mother and father to supply all His needs, the first one being to keep Him warm from the cold.  We read that Mary wrapped her first-born Son in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.  It’s something that any child can relate to.  God is not just for grown-ups.  God is not just a concept or an idea for philosophers to debate about.  He’s someone we can relate to, who became one of us.  He became a human being.  He had to learn to crawl.  To eat.  To talk.  To play with other children.  He had to grow up.  He had to help his father with his job as a carpenter.  He had to work.  And he also had to pray.  Not to Himself, but to His Father and the Holy Spirit.  By the age of twelve we know that He definitely knew that He wasn’t an ordinary boy.  He was God as well.  When He reached the age of His Bar Mitzvah at the age of twelve, when a Jewish boy was considered responsible for his actions, what happens?  When he went with Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem, He decides to stay behind.  When Joseph and Mary find Him after three days, and Mary tells Him how worried she and Joseph had been, He replies that He has to be about His Father’s business.  Ouch!  A difficult lesson for Joseph and Mary, but an important one for all parents to learn:  no matter how important parents are, and of course the Ten Commandments say you should honour father and mother, there’s something even more important:  God comes first.  Not second.  Not third.  First.  Always and everyways.  Even when it’s inconvenient.  Even when it causes trouble.  Even when it messes things up.  First.  Always and everyways.


So let’s be glad that in this country, the state, in a certain sense, recognises its place and lets us celebrate the birth of Christ.  I wish you a happy and holy Christmas and that the joy of Christmas overflows for you into the new year.  May God bless you.