The Magic of Christmas (Our Lord’s Birthday December 25th)
Christmas is a time of magic and make-believe, especially for children – that is figuratively speaking!| There is the magic of Christmas trees, fairy-lights and Christmas decorations. Father Christmas to be found in grottos like fairy-land with snow scenes and reindeer. Even the figure of Father Christmas has its origin in a beloved Saint, St Nicholas – a Bishop of the 4th Century who gave gifts to the poor children in his domain and who became the Patron Saint of children. Where would Christmas be without Father Christmas?
Today on this Our Lord’s Birthday I want to take you on a journey of make-believe! This will be ‘on earth as it is in Heaven’. I want you to imagine that as we celebrate Our Lord’s Birthday here on earth, a far greater crowd that no-one can number must be celebrating his Birthday too, in the heavenly spheres; all those who in the past Centuries have been devoted disciples and followers of our Lord. In the distance, in our imagination we might see the figure of Jesus surrounded by them.
I want you to imagine that you, too, have been invited to partake in this wonderful celebration in the heavenly spheres; taken on the wings of Angels to the Heavenly country and guarded by them. If we are lucky we might bump into one or two of the Shepherds who were there on the night Jesus was born and went to the stable to see for themselves this very special baby. We could ask them what it was like. They might say it was the face of his parents they remembered especially. Mary’s face, full of loving absorption as she cradled the baby Jesus so close to her. We wonder, was he awake or sleeping in his mother’s arms? And the face of his father Joseph, his Protector in those early years. Joseph, standing so tall and straight beside Mary and so proud and so full of loving concern.
If we were lucky we might bump into one of those people who were on the trek to Jerusalem that time when Jesus’ parents couldn’t find him and eventually found him talking with the teachers in the Temple in Jerusalem. He was a fine, upstanding lad they would say. Good looking, too, with his long auburn hair and so grown-up for his age although he was only 12 years old at the time. He couldn’t understand why his parents were so worried about him! Also if we were lucky we might bump into a group of some of his disciples, talking together over the old times, Peter, James and John or Philip or Nathaniel. Tell us about Jesus we would say and they would tell us about the time Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I have need of you”. You couldn’t say ‘no’ to him. There was something about him so compelling and so urgent and so attractive. They would tell us how they put down their fishing nets and gave up their work. If he called you, you had to follow him. And of course, as always happens at Birthday celebrations, the most important person, whose Birthday it is, would mingle with his guests and would greet them. And if we were there what would he say to us? He wouldn’t say “how are things with you or how are things on earth” because he knows that already. He knows all about us. But we could be sure of a warm welcome and he would know our Christian names. “Hello, Peter, Michael, David, John, Elizabeth, Carol and Susan and so on.” I am sure he would thank us for some the things we had done in his service even if we couldn’t remember them. Then I’m sure he would tell us not to worry about how we would get home because the Angels knew all about us and would carry us home.
A Christmas Day Prayer
“O God, our gracious, heavenly Father: Creator and Sustainer, and yet our Father, we thank you on this wonderful day for this little child who would make us all your sons and daughters. As we remember his holy and humble birth, take away our pride. As we remember his pure life, take away our sins. As we remember how he came, not to be ministered to but to minister, help us to serve him more willingly and to serve each other. In Jesus’s name”.. Amen