Posts Tagged ‘joy of Christmas’

The World Will Never Be The Same

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Solemnity of Mary

Num 6: 22-27; Gal 4: 4-7; Luke 2: 16-21

Deacon Larry Brockman



The World will never be the same.  And the World can never be the same because the birth of Jesus changed things forever.   


Once, we were a people of darkness.  We knew about God; He even communicated through the prophets with us.  But, for almost all of His people, God was a distant and vague, yet overpowering and foreboding presence.  And God even seemed angry and unapproachable to His chosen people.  He was even more distant and tentative to the Gentiles.  Yes, we were a people in the dark.  But the birth of the Christ Child changed all of that.   


Mary saw that- and that is why she pondered all these things in her heart.  First, there was the message the angel Gabriel gave her; and then came the similar message her husband Joseph had received from the same angel.  Mary had found favor by God and was to bear the Son of God.  And now this- the birth of her son, Jesus- in less than favorable circumstances, yet attended by choirs of angels.  Just imagine a throng of Angels singing!  What an awesome sight that must have been.  Yes, Mary saw that she was part of something that would change the World forever.  And so, she took her son after 8 days and did exactly what the angel had asked her to do- dedicate Him in the temple and give Him his name, Jesus, which means “God’s savior”, because she knew and believed that the prophecy was coming true!   


The shepherds saw the significance of Jesus birth also.  And that is simply amazing.  You might ask- why was it so amazing?  Well, these shepherds, were relatively simple people very much of the World.  They had to be practical, pragmatic, hard working men. They weren’t students of the scripture or theology, but rather, folks who were just regular people,  And so, what happened?  First, they saw a large number of angels that told them about the birth of the Christ, the Messiah; and so they went in haste to see what happened.  Once they had seen that everything that was predicted by the angels had happened, they “returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them”.  Because they were convinced, excited, and joyful over the coming of the Messiah.  Do you suppose they would have returned glorifying God if they hadn’t been visited by the angels?  Something significant happened to them- this visit from a large group of angels who predicted an unlikely event and yet, it happened just as the angels predicted.   


Now if that kind of thing happened to you or I today, just imagine how you would feel.  You would be blown away!  You would think to yourself:  “Nothing will ever be the same!”  You might at first have doubts “was this real or not”.  So that is why a group was visited, not just one shepherd.  Because it would all have seemed so unreal- a hallucination if it happened to you alone.  But it wasn’t a hallucination; it was real, and the whole group experienced it.  And so, this long awaited arrival of the Christ, the Messiah, that all of the rabbi teachers and scribes and people of stature talked about, had actually come about.  And not only that, it came about on your watch.  Wow! How you would be blown away.   


And so, we can see how the shepherds were caught up in the true meaning, the real truth about Christmas- that God had sent His only son to dwell amongst us to live as one of us and to save us.  God was no longer a distant, vague, overpowering, foreboding presence, but was manifest as one of us.  And yet, God was manifest as a tiny, helpless baby.  He was destined to become a shining example to all of humanity about how to behave as a human being, and yet be in total harmony with God.  And not only that, Jesus would reconcile us with God.  Just so that we wouldn’t forget about Him, he instituted the Church, and entrusted to the Church the ability to bring Him back: He gave us the Eucharist, his own body and blood, which all of us are privileged to share together as part of the Mass.   


Indeed, our God is close to us, not distant; He is loving and kind like His son Jesus; not foreboding and overpowering.  Yes, he is still so far above us in intelligence and power that we cannot conceive of the mind and power of God.  But we have been privileged to experience his love for us.  The love of His only begotten son, and not only that, Jesus is available to us always in the Eucharist.  What a contrast with other religions.  They haven’t recognized the significance and reality of the fullness of God’s gift to man- the Son of God become man and the spirit of God that dwells in each of us who believe.   


Today, as we look forward to the New Year is a good time for us to count our blessings.  And one of the blessings that all of us share is our faith as Christians.  Even though the Hebrews didn’t recognize it, that’s what God’s famous blessing for Aaron in our first reading was all about.  Listen to it again:  “The LORD bless you and keep you!”  That is God the Father; “The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!”  That is the Son of God, Jesus, whose face we see.  And then finally: “The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”  The peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 


And so, let us all rejoice today  Because we have all been truly blessed.  For with the birth of Jesus, God has shed his face upon us, and will send his Spirit upon us.