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12/25/18 Christmas Homily - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

The Nativity of the Lord – Christmas - Mass During the Day
Lectionary: 16

  • At this time of year we focus on the baby Jesus entering our world… a small child whose legacy would change the world forever… and this is all good and appropriate
  • But the problem arises when choose to keep God small
  • When we fail to appreciate that we’re dealing with the Creator of the known universe, and the sustainer and author of all life
  • The problem arises when we try to create God in our own image, assuming that He thinks and acts as we do…
  • The problem arises when we try to put God in a box and limit Him
  • When we keep God small… We keep our lives small as well…
  • When we keep God small, we can fail to appreciate the significance of God in the world and perhaps even more importantly, the significance of God in our lives
  • All of the theology we’ll ever need to know is found in three words in 1st John (4:16): “God is Love…”
  • Love entered the world some two thousand years ago on this day... and this love dwells within each of us...
  • Hope was born on this day... and this hope offers solace to a broken world...
  • This love and this hope urge us forward each day, regardless of the difficulties we might be facing in our lives...
  • Jesus came to teach us how to love
  • That’s the essence of what we celebrate today… and that’s the essence of our callingTo become instruments of God’s love in the world, by becoming another Christ
  • The Christmas season evokes varied emotions from people…
  • For some it can be a time of great joy …. While for others it can be a time of sadness and loneliness
  • It all depends upon the love we’ve experienced in our lives…
  • Do we feel appreciated and loved, or do we feel forgotten
  • Are we able to express and show our love for others… or are there circumstances which seem to prevent this…
  • The coming of Christ into our world addresses the greatest need of humankind
  • Our need to give and receive love
  • Love needs to be nurtured in us through the love of others…
  • How we celebrate this season is entirely up to us…
  • Will we work to spread the love that we’ve received, especially to those most in need, or will we remain trapped within ourselves…
  • We’re each called to bring the hope and love of the Son of God to those whom He sends into our lives, not just at Christmas, but every day…
  • Christmas can be a special time when Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbor as ourselves seems to become relevant to much of the world around us…
  • Christmas can be a time when we can wonder to ourselves why every day can’t be filled with this gift of love
  • And if we’re fortunate enough to experience the peace and goodwill that this season can offer, we know in the back of our minds that by New Year’s Day… It will, (for all intents and purposes), end, as we prepare ourselves to return to what we often refer to as the “real world…”
  • But did we ever consider that what we accept as the “real world” isn’t what God intended?
  • Did we ever consider that the Spirit of Christmas, which is nothing less than the spirit of love, wasn’t intended to end… And that it doesn’t need to end?...
  • The season of Christmas offers each of us a chance for renewal and healing in our lives...
  • Renewal of our dreams and hopes... and healing of the wounds that we’ve all received in life...
  • It’s good that we’re acknowledging Jesus’ birth… But it’s even more important today, (and every day); to acknowledge His presence in our lives
  • The presence of love incarnate, that dwells within us; waiting to lead us to new life…
  • Paula D’Arcy wrote: “We are here for so much more than we can imagine.” (Waking Up to This Day; Pg. 3)…
  • We were each put on this earth for a purpose
  • But we’ll never be able to fully appreciate our purpose if we continue non-stop on the treadmill of life…
  • We’ll never be able to appreciate our purpose if we refuse to stop and evaluate our lives
  • And this requires us to slow down and take stock of who we are and what our life really means
  • It requires us to make the time to ask some hard questions…
    • Are we happy with our lives?
    • Can we find joy in the chaos of daily life…
    • Are we filled with hope for the future? 
  • Our God wants us to enjoy our life and to live it abundantly
  • Our God is not out to condemn us but instead wants to love us into the person He created us to be
  • Perhaps more than anything else, Christmas is about the hope and promise of a God Who loved us so deeply, that He chose to become one of us; that He might show us through His life - How love can change us, and in turn change our world...
  • Marianne Williamson wrote: “Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love.  We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us.  The world changes when we change.  The world softens when we soften.  The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” (A Return to Love; Pg 61)…
  • When we learn to freely give and receive God’s love – It’s then that we truly honor the Christ… whose birth we celebrate this day...

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