Brothers and Sisters:
We celebrate on December 25th each year the Feast of the Nativity. We observe it as the day on which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. It is the birth of Christ, that makes Christmas, Christmas. The celebration could not be contained in a single day, so the Church in its wisdom, extended the celebration over a season, which lasted from December 25th to January 6th, the well-known twelve days that has been popularized in song. However, it is possible to extend the celebration beyond the day, and beyond the season to be an everyday all year celebration. There was a period when my parting greeting to most persons was “See you at Christmas.” When asked to explain what I meant by that, I would answer that I considered every day to be Christmas, and go on to quote a verse from the carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, which states:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We would then conclude, that whenever Christ is born anew in us, it is safe for us to regard that day as another Christmas day. Wonderful, we can have Christmas with us all year round. But how would we celebrate it? Let us turn here to another song being sung by the girls of Bishop Anstey High School, a famous Anglican School in Trinidad. These are the words:
The secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmastime,
But the Christmas things you do all year through.
It is the presence of Christ within us that gives us the capacity to do Christmas things, to act in ways that are consistent with the mind of Christ. Here let us highlight two very significant features of Christ’s presence within, and they are humility and generosity.
To humble ourselves is to give ourselves fully to the service of others. The needs of others and the well-being of others would be our primary concern, for we would always place others before ourselves. This would lead naturally to the exercise of a spirit of generosity, the willingness to follow the example of Jesus, by making ourselves poor so that those we serve might become rich.
Our challenge is to extend the bounds of our generosity, to reach out beyond our immediate family and friends, to minister to all in need in our communities and our country and even beyond our country. May God give us grace to continue to do Christmas things all year through.
Think on these things!