“He was a baby, a child, so that you may become a complete, mature person. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, so that you might be freed from the bonds of death. He was in a manger, so that you may be on the altar. He came to earth so that you may be in the stars. He had no place in the inn, … Continue reading He and Us – Thoughts on the Nativity from St. Ambrose
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (From John 1:1-18; First Sunday after Christmas) How was your Christmas? It is a question I have asked and been asked over the last few days. While I understand what is being asked I also hear an underlying assumption that Christmas is over. It is the same assumption that underlies the birthday wishes to Jesus. “Happy … Continue reading Christmas On! A Sermon on John 1:1-18
She gave birth, wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger. It’s all rather matter of fact as St. Luke tells it (Luke 2:1-20; Christmas Eve). It sounds like it could be any birth. It was probably like a lot of births throughout the world today. A newborn, a blanket of sorts, and a makeshift crib. “Good news of great joy,” the … Continue reading Gazing into the Face of a New Beginning – A Christmas Sermon on Luke 2:1-20
At Christmas we often think, and rightfully so, of God’s gift of Jesus to the world. We celebrate and rejoice that God has been born into this world as one of us. God is with us in a new way. God has given us himself in the baby Jesus. The early Church, while recognizing God’s gift to his people, also understood and saw the nativity … Continue reading What are you Giving for Christmas?
“Now the birth of Jesus took place in this way….” (Matthew 1:18-25) Matthew’s description of how Jesus’ birth happens does not mention anything that is on my to-do list. There is no busyness in his description. There are very few words spoken. Mary and Joseph are silent. They say nothing. An angel announces and declares as angels do, but there are no explanations of how this … Continue reading Advent Preparation – Let the Baby be Born
The crowds from last night’s liturgy have gone home. There’s just a few of us here this morning. The noise, song, and voices of last night’s celebration have fallen silent. The candlelight of Christmas Eve has given way to the dawn of Christmas Day.
That sounds a lot like the second half of St. Luke’s Christmas story (Luke 2:8-20). The multitude of heavenly host praising God have become silent. The angels have left and gone back to heaven. The glory of the Lord is no longer shining on the shepherds. In fact, the shepherds have gone back to their fields and sheep.
We are left with Mary, Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. They say nothing. There is only silence on this day. Maybe that’s how it should be. Continue reading “Walk Away from the Manger”
There are some stories that simply bear repeating. Children want to hear the same old bed time story. Lovers tell the story of meeting and falling in love. Parents tell the story of their child’s birth. Tonight the Church tells the Christmas story. None of these stories are new. They have been told throughout the ages and will continue to be told.
It does not matter that we might know the story by heart. Even when we know all the characters by name, even when we can quote their conversations, even when we know what happens and how the story ends, some stories are worth hearing again. Not only that, some stories need to be heard again.
There is something within us that wants and needs to hear the great stories again and again. It’s not because we think the story has changed or might end differently. It’s because our story, our individual life story, has changed and we’re just not sure how it will end. Continue reading “Luke, Tell Me the Story Again!”
The feast of Christmas is the feast of the mystical Body, for it is through the Incarnation that men have become members of Christ. Whatever theological interpretation we give to this great scriptural and patristic affirmation of our incorporation into Christ, we must believe that with the Incarnation, an ineffable union – that passes all understanding – began, in human flesh, between Jesus Christ and … Continue reading Christmas – The Gift of Union
I probably need to begin with a disclaimer. My understanding of the nativity has changed. It is not what it used to be. I no longer see the birth of Jesus the way it is so often portrayed. The image of sweet baby Jesus asleep on the hay has given way to a vision of God who is wide awake, present, among us, concerned and … Continue reading Nativity Scenes Here, There, Everywhere – A Sermon for Christmas Eve, Luke 2:1-20
This is the world into which Jesus is born. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child … Continue reading Boots and a Blue Bra, a Modern Nativity Scene