This Holy Night 2021 (Fr John)

This Holy night, as our human tradition of storytelling recalls the glimmer of Love being born in Bethlehem in our worlds History:  you and I are invited (as we look at the crib figure of the Christ child, surrounded by his Mother Mary and her husband Joseph – the cattle and the shepherds) to reconsider what is happening and at this late hour – which is never too  late – you are invited to decide how we will respond to this celebration not only of a new life, but of a new understanding in our world – that God loves the world so greatly he sends himself revealed in Jesus to be with us.

God has been born into human flesh. That which has been untouchable in the past– can now be held in a mother’s arms.  He who was unreachable has stretched out his arms towards us to be held by each and every one of us.  And the God who was unrelatable to the human experience (so we thought) – feeds at his mother’s breast, cries out in hunger, and longs for our love our touch and the comfort of knowing our presence.

God is radical this night – God has fallen outside of our understanding of God and is doing the unthinkable: being born vulnerable and dependent – so we might see ourselves in him and our need of God and come to share in the life of the one who will proclaim justice, heal the sick and feed the hungry – that we might do likewise.

A favorite Christmas Card I have seen this year reminds me of the need for us to be as radical as God has been and will be. For us to do the unpredictable and our part in saving creation.

The Card reads ‘The Vegan Mary had a baby boy!’

I know my ducks are already prepared for Lunch but let us on this holy night commit in some measure to safeguarding the integrity of creation. The celebration of the Birth of Jesus this night safeguards our future as humanity is put back into a relationship with God.  Now it’s the rest of creation which must be seen as important as your needs or mine.

I am not going to become a card carrying Vegan – but neither am I going to be complacent in how I treat creation – or collude any longer with those who strip creation of its goodness for our good alone.  The birth of the Child Jesus, and any child offers us hope into the immediate future – we need as a community and species to address the harm we have and are doing to God’s creation post COP26.

A future hope is realized tonight for the wait is over – the child is born and time is up for creation.  Now is our time to safeguard and lobby, to act and to expect others to act and do our part to honor the birth of all living and vulnerable creatures and organisms; to put away our selfish desires and kneel before the creator God and worship not only the child Jesus – but in seeing God revealed in all of creation – to look to its healing and flourishing and how we might encourage this.

This Holy night God puts back into our human consciousness an understanding of the value of life. But not just human life, all created life.  God is with us, God is calling each of us to not work against him in creation – but to rejoice and care for it as the child who is our Saviour comes amongst us to care for us.   Amen

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