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WHO DESERVES OUR CHRISTMAS THANK-YOUS MOST?

Father Francis's picture
Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord

The love, the generosity and the compassion of our Heavenly Father is just amazing. He can see the future. The whole of human history is mapped in front of Him. As Scripture says, "One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day."

He sees the love in the hearts of us His children. He also sees our selfishness and ingratitude! Yet, despite how we treat Him, He cannot give up on us. How true He is to His words, "Son, I love you with an everlasting love." Today, we experience His love in such a touching and human way, in His giving to us His only begotten Son, to be our Brother and Saviour.

All things are possible to God. Jesus could have come to us for the first time as a grown man. But just think of the wonderful sentiments we would have lost by that. Is there anything more appealing, more craving for our love and attention, than a new born babe? He came to us as a baby precisely because He wanted to touch our heart strings, and for us to love Him tenderly.

With deep and true conviction we can say He loved us so much that He wanted to identify Himself with us completely. By beginning His human existence as a baby He can truly say, 'Now I am one like you and I shall never shake off this human coil. Men and women may reject and kill Me, but I shall never reject them. I shall always be proud to be a Man and one day I will sit at the most exalted place in Heaven, at the right hand of my Father, as the God-man.'

But who were God's instruments in bringing Jesus onto this Earth as a man? Obviously the Virgin Mary was one. With what love she said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to Your word."

We can never express our gratitude enough to our Blessed Lady for her generosity and love. Whenever we think of her, today and always, we should say endlessly, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you'. Only a mother can appreciate the happiness and joy her baby Son Jesus brought to her.

The other instrument of our Heavenly Father in bringing His Son to Earth is that great man, who stayed in the background but was the support, the joy and the love of Mary. He was Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth. He must have been a very remarkable and dependable man for God to have chosen him - to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of His Son. He, too, deserves our gratitude. What better way is there than today to whisper, 'Joseph, thank you and, please God, when I get to Heaven one day, I want to hear your side of this amazing story.'

In being born in a stable, or a cave, Jesus is telling us that material things don't matter. Things of the spirit are far more important. And the fact that it was to the shepherds, the outcasts and the poor of society, that the glad tidings were first announced, was God's way of saying, 'I forget no one. They may be the nobodies to the world, but they are precious to me.' Yes, God forgets no one. The rich and educated people need Him, too, and so by a star He guided the Wise Men of the East to witness the coming of His Son in Bethlehem.

And in Heaven there was great rejoicing. The great music and voices of the angels had never, and will never again, be heard on this Earth. How Mozart, Bach and Beethoven would have loved to hear such composition! How many choirs, the Welsh being among the greatest, would have been moved by the perfection of their singing?

Although for most of us Christmas is a happy time, in every family it does have its moments of sadness, when we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. But we pray that they are enjoying today’s feast in Heaven.

We also remember all those people in the world whose countries are in the grip of war. And so with all the fervour in our hearts we pray to Jesus, the Prince of peace, that our world will live in peace. And we join with the angels in their hymn, “Glory be to God in the highest and peace to men of good will."

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