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!