“My good is to be close to God (Ps. 72.28).” Look around you my friends; this is your family, gathered in our home, by the hearth of God, waiting for the Lord.
I greet all my old friends as well as my new ones; friends who I have not seen for while. I welcome too our guests, those who are far away from home and those returned home from school, welcome, welcome home!
For the Christian Disciple, it is good to be close to God! Here, among God’s People, we find the happiness for which we long. This common experience, which is like no other, offers us a gift. It lies there, in the dirt, under animals; poor, simple and humbled.
Look! There is a gift for you! It is that Child Who has come to earth for a purpose. The Child wants to bring you a happiness no material wealth or busyness can offer. He offers you a chance to embrace your poverty by embracing humbly our humble God, Jesus. Not a God Who is far away, a God we cannot see, but God made a child, a little child: happiness has come to meet us, has come so close, it is within the reach of our eyes, the reach of our heart, the reach of our hands, hands that can embrace Him and hold Him close.
Augustine would say: “I knew that happiness was God, but I did not enjoy You,” because I filled my life with other things than You. In this technological age in which we have become drunk with information, knowledge has turned joyless. Our obsession with information has saddened our spirit and hardened our relationships when all the while our human nature yearns to be embraced.
The Child’s hands are outstretched so I can pick Him up and hold Him, touch His hair and kiss Him, to show Him how much I love Him.
Look into His eyes and see how much He loves you, how much He wants to embrace you.And in these two movements of the soul, mine and His, I encounter the infinite mystery of God; and realize that all the while I am looking at Him, He is looking at me. There is only One love, born before all ages humbled yet here before me as a Child to be loved.
Friends, no matter where you are in the spiritual life, no matter how deep or shallow your relationship with God has become, on this day embrace His love for you. Accept it! Cherish It! Be grateful, for He seeks us out and brings us here, to this moment, to make you happy.
Those of us, who confess to be Disciples of Christ, cannot hoard this Child in our heart because He does not belong to us alone. Go out and share this encounter with those who have lost their faith, those who no longer join us at home and those who have left the moorings of the good harbor and are now lost in a sea of short temper, confusion and false hope. Share with them what you have come to receive today. Give His love away to another! All of It away! Love one another as I have loved You. Speak His love for you everywhere and to every person, in your home, in your neighborhood, to those who like you and those who hate you, give where you go! Share until it hurts!
Don’t you see? It is in the giving that we find true happiness, contentment and deep spiritual meaning to life. We find purpose here in our home, among our family, at this Altar, and in that confessional box. Our purpose tonight and in our life is to ‘come and adore Him.” No job, no amount of money no special scholarship, nothing but Jesus lying here in this manger, hanging on this Cross both with arms outstretched to take us in and surround us with faith, hope and love, can make us happy and give us real peace.
Simple really. As simple as a child lying in the dirt of a stable surrounded by those Who love Him and protect Him from the cold hearted, the self absorbed, the angry and the rude.
You see “God’s sign is his humility. We become like God if we allow ourselves to be shaped by this sign; if we learn humility and hence true greatness; if we renounce violence of any kind and use only truth and love.”
We can change the world, my friends, if we change ourselves and be more conscious of what we are doing, how we are acting and the way we speak. In order to make this change we will need the Light that comes only from God, the light that so unexpectedly entered into our night (Benedict XVI, Christmas Homily, 2009).
Go home with a promise in your heart, that next Sunday, you will join other Disciples, members of the same family and shout out: “Come, all ye faithful! Joyful and Triumphant!” Come here to our Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the king of angels: come, let us together adore him for ‘my good is to be close to God.”