A Saviour is Born
Christmas is not only the celebration of the birth of JESUS. It is also an important reminder that God never forgets or abandons His people no matter how much of a lost cause we were and no matter how steeped in sin we were. In His great mercy, God Himself chose to become one of us, live among us and then die on the cross for us in order to save us. What an amazing testimony of His love! The prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (9:2). We were the people walking in darkness and that great light is Christ. This is the great joy of Christmas, the coming of our Saviour into the world to redeem us and to make us children of the Light.
For the second year running, this Christmas may not turn out to be all would like it to be amid the ongoing Covid crisis, and as I write there is the possibility of another lockdown. But let us remember the first Christmas wasn’t without its problems either. Mary and Joseph probably assumed that as they set out for the census in Bethlehem they would be able to find a place to stay. This was not to be the case as “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and so they were forced to go into a stable without any friends or family around. They must have felt very isolated like many will all over the world this Christmas. Then after JESUS was born there was the danger of death as Herod set out to kill Him. But in spite of all this, Mary and Joseph trusted in God and realised that amid all the turmoil and chaos that something wonderful was happening and the Providence of God was at work in bringing about something truly amazing.
God is preparing us for Heaven which will be eternal joy and happiness beyond anything we can ever imagine here on earth. He prepares us by testing us and allowing us to have trials. We read in the Letter to the Hebrews, “For the sake of the joy which was still in the future, He [JESUS] endured the cross” (12:2). It’s Heaven we are made for, and the stable at Bethlehem on that first Christmas night with JESUS, Mary and Joseph, the angels and the shepherds is a foretaste of Heaven. Don’t think you have to endure trials alone. God is always with us. He was born for us and He suffers and grieves with us. The light of Bethlehem overcomes the darkness of the world.
On behalf of all of us priests at St Mary’s, I wish you all a very happy and faith-filled Christmas, full of the presence of the Christ Child. May He come into your hearts in a new way as He reminds you that you are made to be with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit, Our Lady and all the angels and saints for ever.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC