Homily for Christmas by the Parish Priest, Fr Ferdinand Van Campen

Posted on 31st December, 2022

Homily for Christmas Day 

I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. This is the message of the angel to the shepherds. And it is the message of the angel to us this evening: I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.

We need messages of this kind, joyful messages, because there is enough distress in the world. The day before yesterday evening watching the news there were two news items that struck me. One was about a Ukrainian soldier, already for a year at the front, and now facing a winter with freezing temperatures. The other was about a Palestinian family harassed by Jewish settlers, forcing them to leave their house and land. There is distress in our own country as well. Many families who do not have enough money to heat their house and are dependent on foodbanks.

This evening, while we have these situations in mind, we are welcomed with news of great joy.

What is this news? Today, in the town of David a saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord.

The prophets of the Old Testament had been speaking about the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, like the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah spoke about the coming of a king with many qualities: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Someone who will embody all the values and virtues of the great people of the past.

The angel, in his message to the shepherds, is telling them: look, all the promises of the past have been fulfilled today, in the birth of this child. It is no longer a matter of future expectation; St Paul writes to Titus: God’s grace has come into the world!

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. A Saviour has been born to us. If we look at our daily lives, and if we look at the world around us, we soon recognize that we are in need of a Saviour; who will save us from darkness, from sin, from hatred, from discouragement, from busy-ness (the idea that we always must be busy). A saviour who will save us from not being loved and loneliness, from making ourselves bigger than we really are, and as St Paul writes to Titus, from worldly ambition, and from all that does not lead to God.

And after having given the news, the angel continues: And here is a sign for you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

The child is lying in a manger. A manger, it sounds lovely, because we connect it with Christmas. We forget that a manger is a trough, a rack for fodder for cattle. The baby was put in a trough, because there was no other place.

Our saviour and his family have not been spared of the difficulties of life. Can you imagine what it means for a nine-month pregnant woman to travel on a donkey for two to three days? And to give birth to your child in an overcrowded situation with no proper facilities?

These events tell us that Jesus and his family are not ‘posh’, they have experienced that life can be hard and difficult.

And therefore, Jesus can be easily approached by any person, he is never too ‘high’ or too ‘big’ for any one of us.

So let us join the shepherds and visit the child in the manger. Let us draw near to our saviour.

During the pandemic we were told to distance ourselves from others in order not to risk being infected with the Covid virus.

With the child in the manger, the opposite is true, we must not distance ourselves from him, but draw very close to him, so that he can be our saviour and infect us positively, with joy and peace and courage to work for a better world.

So, this night, we rejoice with the angels and the shepherds, and all people of good will, because today a Saviour has been born to us, he is Christ the Lord.

Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (0)