Christmas Eve is here. For some, today will be a day of traveling; for others it will be a day of preparation; and for still others, it will be a day to start the holiday festivities with family and friends.
Fr Christians, today marks the heightened celebration of Jesus’ birth, the remembrance of the long journey that Mary and Joseph made, the crowded inn and the stable where the saviour of the world would be born. In the still of that night long ago, a tiny baby came to bring hope and love and peace.
Tonight, at churches around our community, doors will be open for people to come, sit quietly, light candles and reflect upon what we, as Christians, believe is the greatest gift every given. For without the birth their would never have been a death nor a resurrection.
In our world today, we are divided over our beliefs, fraught with distress about whether to wish someone a Merry Christmas or simply a happy holiday and, in many cases, more concerned with the gifts we’ll receive than the gifts we can give. There is nothing wrong with people saying Merry Christmas. Nothing about that is meant to offend or take away from another’s belief, yet there are those who would have it become an issue just so there is strife among people who should be searching for peace.
No matter your religious belief, no matter the gifts you can buy or the ones you will get, this is the time of year when people should set aside extremist attitudes, selfish acts and unkind thoughts to share in the joy of a moment, the stillness of a night, the thought of peace. For many that peace comes because of a tiny baby born in a lowly manger.
Whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or some other form of the holiday, celebrate we should, peacefully and happily, knowing that regardless what we may or may not believe, what we may or may not have, one thing is certain — it would be nice to have a day where everyone could lay day their weapons, their prejudices, their anger and their selfishness and try, really try, to be the people that somewhere deep inside we know we all can be.
It is our hope, as we’ve oft repeated during this holiday season, that as you settle into whatever celebration you will have, that you spend time with family and friends, offer a helping hand to someone whose holiday might not be as special as your own and offer gifts that don’t come wrapped in shiny paper and bright red bows — gifts of your time, your friendship, your volunteer spirit, your understanding and your love.
And it is our prayer, as Christians, that each of you will find your way back to that manger where a baby boy was born, a baby who Christians believe was destined to save the world.
We hope as you begin whatever celebration this time of year brings that you do so with happiness in your heart and family and friends by your side.
And we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!