My sisters and brothers, how does God love you? Think about that for a few seconds, how does God love you? Now, look for a moment at our Crèche. Yes that is how much God loves us. This is what we celebrate today, Jesus Christ, Mighty God and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, Jesus Christ, who came in glory with salvation for his people. Our God, who is love, who makes us channels of peace, loves us so much that he gave us the gift of his love in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, our brother, our friend, our savior. What a wonderful gift we have been given.
And this Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us, loved us so much that he gave his life for us so that we might have eternal life. Jesus was born, Jesus suffered, Jesus died, and Jesus rose from the dead so that we might live, not as we do now, but live the life that we, as human beings, can only imagine. A life of no suffering or pain, a life where every tear will be wiped away, a life where all are equal. Very shortly the simple gifts of bread and wine will be placed upon this altar, this table. There they will be changed, changed into the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine are not the only gifts to be placed on this table though. As the gifts are brought forward tonight I invite each of you to add your own gift, the gift of your very life too. All your suffering and pain, your joys and your sorrows, your questions, any heaviness in your heart, all your thankfulness, where ever you are right now; place it on this table so that it too may be offered.
For all of us, my sisters and brothers are the Body of Christ and our lives too will be changed along with this bread and wine. Then as we share in this simple meal, as we receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, may we feel the joy and the peace offered to us at this Christmas Mass and every Mass where we are fed with what we become. My brothers, my sisters, my friends, Christmas is also a time of giving and receiving gifts right? May I suggest giving one another and receiving from one another the best gift this year. This gift we receive in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Now may I ask you again, how does God love you? I would like to close by offering a gift to each of you. I don’t know how this gift got started, but I hope it is still given. I received this gift from my sister about 40 years ago. Then it was difficult for me to read this note not because the typing is small, but because I didn’t get to see the gift until I read the card that came with it telling me why she sent this as her gift and tears had already filled my eyes. Today I still get tears and I had to make the writing bigger. I offer this as a gift for you, but it is from our God who is love. The note says: “This is a very special gift that you can never see. The reason it’s so special it’s just for you, from me. Whenever you are lonely or ever feeling blue, you only have to hold this gift and know I think of you. You never can unwrap it, please leave the ribbons tied. Just hold the box close to your heart. It’s filled with love inside.”
My friends may Christmas joy and peace be with you.