HOMILY OF THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST(CHRISTMAS MID NIGHT MASS)
What a happy moment! What a joyful season! What a gracious period! The celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one birth that brought jubilation to the angels in heaven and hope to men and women here below. May the celebration of this great Feast bring you joy, hope, favours and boundless blessings; Amen.
The birth of Jesus Christ was indeed the birth of that Light which illumines every corner of the universe and the innermost parts of the hearts of men and women. Really, “the people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone… for there is a Child born for us, a Son given to us” (Isaiah 9:1-7). The emergence of this great Light calls for the grandest celebration. This the Feast we are celebrating.
In recent times, there has been a renewed restatement of an aged long heresy by some that the celebration of Christmas is not only Pagan but also unchristian. Firstly, we must understand that the Celebration of Christmas is the celebration of an unrepeatable event in the history of salvation; “and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Secondly, we must know that God wants us to celebrate Him; to celebrate His victorious; to celebrate His involvement in our story despite our human limitations. One of the most bizarre utterances I was reminded of this year was that it is against the scriptures to celebrate the Birth of God in human flesh. The very words of the Gospel (Luke 2:1-14) this night is an irresistible invitation; “listen, I bring you news of great joy, A JOY TO BE SHARED BY THE WHOLE PEOPLE. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord… And suddenly with the angel there was a great throne of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favour.” This birth was not only celebrated in the heavens, but also men and women were invited to partake in this Feast and spread it across. Indeed, “a joy to be shared by the whole people.” The choice of this date was never to inherit a Roman pagan feast of the birth of the sun god but to enthrone the reign and celebrate the birth of the true Sun of Justice (Malachi 4:2). The word of God made it clearest, “at the mention of his name every kneel must bend in heaven and on earth” (Phil 2:10); even the pagan feast of the sun god must give way for the celebration of the King of Glory.
Beloved, you must be sure that God wants us to celebrate His victory; but you must also be personally sure that what you are celebrating is a Christian Christmas. A Christian Christmas is not all about fornication and adultery or the multiplication of sexual vices. A Christian Christmas is not all about partying and drunkenness or recklessness. It is not all about fine cloths and faces without a corresponding beauty of the soul. A Christian Christmas is being led by the joy of this Season “to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world” (Titus 2:11-14). A Christian Christmas means being a dispenser of that joy that comes from the manger in Bethlehem.
I pray and wish you the best of this Season. May the joy of the New Born Child bring you and your household renewal and strength; Amen. HAPPY CHRISTMAS;
-Fr. Cyril Unachukwu