Christmas Vigil Mass – The nature of sin, the need of a saviour – Isaiah 62:1-5/ Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas Vigil Mass – The nature of sin, the need of a saviour – Isaiah 62:1-5/ Matthew 1:18-25

By human standards, the Christmas story is filled with scandal. It is the stuff that tabloids would relish as they publish. Newspapers would be selling like hot cakes. The headlines would read, “an expectant bride an enraged fiancé.” The bi-line would proclaim, St Joseph to divorce Mary.

There is nothing sentimental or romantic in the first Christmas story; it is uncensored, not airbrushed, filled with scandal and then even when the marriage is salvaged; thanks to no less the intervention of Gods own angel, the story of Christmas is one of poverty, homelessness, refugees, attempted murder, mass murder, selfishness and fear.

Today, none of that is reflected in our celebration. The Church is decorated with tinsel and lights, the altar is adored with flowers, food and drink will flow, music will fill the air and dancing feet will burn a hole in the ground. We have bought new clothes and dolled our faces. There is no sign of the pain and fear and struggle of that first Christmas.

So why then do we celebrate that day with such rejoicing? What gives life and colour to this day? Just one sentence; “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given!” A son, who as St Matthew tells us, “Will save their people from their sins.” The tinsel, the bells, the lights, the music, the kulkuls, the vindaloo are simply our way of telling the whole world WE ARE SAVED. God gave us HIS son to be OUR brother, to SAVE US and take us to heaven. All of what we do is just an external expression of the internal reality.

But what if that internal reality is nonexistent. What If I am sitting here in Church just because it is something that I do every year at Christmas? What if I have not accepted the truth of Christmas that Jesus has come to save me, to free me from my sin? What if I am here right now in the most beautiful dress and the latest bespoke suit, what If my menu at home for Christmas lunch is the best I have ever cooked and the decorations in the house is beyond spectacular but I have not accepted Jesus for WHY he came and WHO he is to me? He came to SAVE ME, he is my SAVIOUR!

What does a saviour mean? It means that someone is prepared to save you because you are incapable of saving yourself. Some one sacrifices all so that you may live. You see, the nature of sin is so complex that we needed a saviour. We are capable of the latest technology that may beam us up to the moon but no one can save you from your sin BUT Jesus. Amen!

Whether we like it or not, we live in a world in which ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Yet we have also heard that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). But this is theory for many of us. There are many who do not accept Jesus as a saviour; he is a guru, a buddy, a man who did good and inspired others. And then there are those who deny the reality of sin.

Sin is not just an act of doing something wrong. Sin is a crime and offense against God. It is for this reason that no matter what we do we cannot erase sin and that’s why we have a Christmas day. For on this day God said, I will step in, I will send my son and the way he will take away your sin is by shedding his blood on the cross. He will suffer and die for you. And why? Because, says God, “I LOVE YOU.”

Today, you will gaze in the manger and see a tiny baby. Yes, the image is cute as all babies are but may I invite you to also turn your gaze from the crib to the cross. That cross is the reason for the season, Jesus is the reason for the season. He was born only to take away your sin and for no other reason and with every kulkul you eat, every gift you exchange, every handshake and smile that you share let everyone know that all of this is because Jesus came to save you and me. Amen!

I invite you my brothers and sisters, for just a little while close your eyes and say thank you Jesus, thank you for being born to die for us, help me fight my sin, let my Christmas gift to you be my repentant heart. Today, as I confront my sin and stand ashamed of it, let me hear the words of the angel console me and say to me as he said to the shepherds in the field,” DO NOT BE AFRAID for today is born a saviour.” So come Jesus, for I am in need of you right here, right now!

Praise you Jesus, thank you Jesus, I love you Jesus!

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Vigil Mass – The nature of sin, the need of a saviour – Isaiah 62:1-5/ Matthew 1:18-25”

  • Perhaps we should stop the meaningless , and start towards the meaningful message of Christmas.
    As we shed the meaningless , the purpose of Christmas will be clear. Advent is no quick fix.
    Gratitude to God cannot be expressed if it is not experienced throughout the year.
    Then gratitude to Jesus for saving us will bring much joy and meaning to our celebrations.
    Then the kulkuls will be sweeter and crunchier and the buntings more beautiful to behold.

    Thank you Fr. Warner, for addressing these things.

  • Your beautiful article brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Fr. Warner, everything you write puts things in perspective, compels us to reflect and course-correct, repent, rejoice as we celebrate Christmas.
    Wishing you happy and holy Christmas.


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