Let us identify ourselves as ordinary people in an extraordinary event
As we are in celebration of Christmas-2016, we have completed almost another year with great many experience both positives and negatives. Christmas is a time of peace and joy, a time to celebrate with family, with friends and loved ones. I feel happy and proud to be prying with you.
Christmastide is the time of year when we are especially encouraged to live in the spirit of peace and good will to all. It is a time for renewal of spirit and inner refreshment and for making a new start.
It was St Francis of Assisi who assembled the first crib in a cave on an Italian hillside. It was in 1293 that the first crèche was erected in the woods of Greccio near Assisi, on Christmas Eve. The crib was ready, hay was brought, and the ox and the donkey were led to the spot. Greccio became a new Bethlehem the aim of St. Francis was to make the Christmas story come alive for the people of the locality. His idea was to show them how close it was to them and their lives.
Do we imagine ourselves as one of the people inside the inn?
For this group of people the birth of Jesus is an irrelevance, it does not touch them and they show no interest. To those people it was just an external knock on the door, and they just kept going on with what they were doing. Majority of people do, but we don’t, I hope our hearts are opened to accept child Jesus.
Can we place ourselves among the shepherds? They are the people who are open to wonder. Thy can accept good news. They are people, who are already part of faith tradition, they shared the practices, hope, and fears of the people, but were also ready to respond with faith to the voice of God.
Are we the ones as one of the wise ones, the kings, who came from east? These are people, who are dedicated to searching out the great human questions, but they are not just engaged in idle speculation; they set out and searched for the truth. They listened to the promptings of conscience; they did not come empty handed. These are dedicated searchers after the truth and conscientious doers of the good. All their talents they are placing in the service of God-with us.
Can we imagine ourselves like Joseph: caring for the welfare of the church, working in the community, taking on special responsibilities towards the word made flesh? He is helping to make the good news known, and prepared to response to the inner call of vocation.
Can we imagine ourselves as sharing in the vocation of Mary? She first brought the anointed one in the world; but it is through us that Jesus enters our world. And we are all at the birth scene: each of us is called upon to fulfill all these vocations in varying ways.
At this holy time, let us remember in our prayers all those who are going through a difficult time - especially those who are sick, suffering and unable to come for this event.
I give thanks to god for all of you, and your family members for being generous to God’s work and others in need in all the ways you can, most especially your qualitative time and talents in keeping this parish such an energetic and faith-filled living community.
Let us also come home to the Holy Family as we gather at the Crib.
Peace and good-will to all is the Christmas cry of the Christian at this holy time as we gather at the Crib.
Come, let us worship!
Rev. Martin Arputham, hgn