Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PICK UP THE BABY - A Christmas Homily

About a month ago I had the opportunity to hold my cousin's new born daughter Madison. Holding a new born baby is in many was so awesome it is indescribable at least of which we know that it is a blessing beyond our wildest imaginations. For myself, it had been a while in my life since I had held a newborn and so in some ways I had forgotten this blessing. Since the moment I held Madison, I was inspired by the Spirit to think about the great feast of Christmas. I found myself marveling at the miracle of new life and what the future held for little Madison. I also thought about the similarities between holding Madison and the baby we all embrace at Christmas, Jesus our Lord, our Savior, our Brother.

The image of a baby, the newborn Jesus to some is considered a "weak" image but that view could not be further from the truth. In a newborn lies one of the most powerful images possible; an image capable of transcending so much. For in holding a newborn who isn't in awe of the miracle of life? Who is not thankful for new life? Who is not filled with hope? Who does not stop and ponder the future and possibilities ahead for this new one? Who doesn't for even just a moment, sense all is just as it should be in our world? Really, no matter what may come, above and beyond all within us, when we hold a baby this also this innate sense that it must protected, nurtured, and encouraged to grow to it's fullest potential. AND! Cannot all of what we just said of a newborn can be translated to our faith?

Our faith is life in Christ, our faith allows Christ to be incarnated within. Our faith too must be protected, nurtured, and fostered. In addition, we must also ponder the future and allow our faith to help us discern God's will!

As we rejoice in the newborn baby Jesus may we take time to pick up the baby. When anger takes hold may we lay it down and pick up the baby. When pride, jealousy, and envy weigh heavy on our hearts may we lay it down and pick up the baby. When we are filled with doubt, anxiety, and fear may we lay it down and pick up the baby. When we feel we are loosing hope and all patience, may we lay it down and pick up the baby. When the world rejects us because of our faith, may we pick up the baby.

In picking up the baby we become the heralds of God's profound love proclaiming great joy for all people. In picking up the baby we become light to those walking in darkness who tell of our God-Hero, Wonder-Counselor, Father-Forever, our Prince of Peace. In picking up the baby we draw ourselves to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately and justly as we await in blessed hope, the return of Jesus to earth.

May we: pick up the baby!

What shall we celebrate?

What do you anticipate celebrating at Christmas? The joy of the birth of Christ? Joy of the season? The love of God, family, and friends? Christmas is a special time of the year which evokes many special things in all of us. One of the things that can get lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the season and often goes unsung is the celebration of the incarnation of Christ in all of us! With everything that goes on during the Christmas season, it is definitely hard to focus on the very fact that Christ is within us! The gospel of the 4th Sunday of Advent calls us to do just that; that is: to celebrate the incarnation of Christ within. However, it is at times, hard to take hold of this realization. In fact, sometimes it is easier to image far off sci-fy lands of Avatar then it is to increase an awareness of the Christ in each of us. Us who bear the image of Christ, who as Christians, are called to be little Christs!

The previous weeks of Advent have been preparing us to deepen our awareness of the incarnation Christ within; let us note the pattern! First week of Advent: Vigilance - cleaning out the junk in our lives, aware of what needs to change. Second week of Advent - make straight the paths, putting aside the twisted muck we place in our lives that draw us away from Christ. Third week of Advent: a renewal of the call to faith and duty as children of God that we called to fulfill daily! NOW, the 4th Sunday of Advent show us through Mary and Elizabeth that if we are completely open to God's will that God will work with us and be incarnated within. Mary by way of her yes literally incarnated Christ into her very being; we do spiritually. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit because of her openness.

If we desire the same for us then we too must seek to grow in giving ourselves completely to God and being completely open to His will. Amen.