Is. 9:2-4,6-7; Tit. 2:11-4; LK.2:1-16Good evening my brothers and sisters. Tonight everyone looks bright and joyful. On this joyful night, we are celebrating the day of the birth of Jesus. We share the Joy of Mother Mary, We share the joy of St Joseph, We share the joy of the Shepherds and we share the joy of the Angels. The manger in our Church reminds of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. But what is remarkable is that everyone was filled with joy. The manger, the scorching cold air and the poor surrounding did not take away their joy. They were focused on the Child and were filled with joy.
problems we encounter in our society, the issues we face around us, the
sufferings that we undergo, the threats that we cannot avoid should not take
away our joy of Christmas. As the first reading tells us today is the
celebration of the birth of “The Prince of Peace.”
Tonight, we get the impression that we are surrounded by a bright and powerful light, a light of shining love, the light of Jesus. Tonight, we are surrounded by the Divine light of love that unites us all closer and closer. Our personal
Today we are celebrating the birth of Prince of Peace who comes to visit us daily in various forms – He comes when there is natural calamities. He comes when there is strife among the nations. He comes when the world is crushed down under ailments. Always he stands above them as the Prince of Peace. The only message that the Angels had to deliver to mankind was, “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to men of good will.”
Papa Panov is an elderly cobbler living alone in a tiny village of Russia. His wife is dead, and his sons and daughters are all grown up, living far away from his home. It’s Christmas time and since his wife is dead, he sits alone and sad in his little shop. He decides to read the Bible and the story of the birth of Jesus.
He reads the Christmas story but reading it continuously, he feels tired. The further he reads, the sleeping he becomes. Finally, he falls asleep and has a dream. In his dream, he notices a man in his room; he realises that it is Jesus. The Lord tells him that he can come and visit him the next day. However, Jesus would not reveal his identity to him. The next day is Christmas. Papa Panov wakes up early and is excited about meeting the Lord in person.
He notices an old sweeper cleaning the street diligently, despite the cold weather. Touched by his hard work, Papa Panov calls out to him and offers him a hot cup of coffee with a plateful of cookies. Later on, he notices a young mother with her baby in a sad mood, looking dejected with life in general. He calls them and shares his lunch with them. While they wait, he crafts a beautiful pair of tiny shoes for the baby.
The day passes quickly, but there is no sight of the holy visitor whom he was so eager to meet. Beggars came and went too, and Papa Panov fed them without having second thoughts. As the night approaches, he returns home, disappointed that Jesus did not come to meet him. Just as he was about to say that it was only a dream, he heard Jesus’s voice. “I did come to meet you,” said Jesus. Jesus had visited him in the guise of every person whom Papa Panov helped, right from the sweeper to the young mother to the beggars! Papa Panov is very happy that Jesus came to visit him after all.
The celebration of the birth of Jesus and the message of the angels remind us that the Kingdom of Jesus belongs to the holy people. It belongs to those who are upright and godly.
I would like to share with you a beautiful message I heard from someone. He took four glasses of water and placed them on the table. In the first glass he put a stone. There was no change in it. And there was no reaction. The stone had no interaction with water. It did not contribute anything to the water nor did it receive anything from the water. Some of us are like the stone. We just co-exist in the society without any interaction.
In the second glass of water he soaked some cotton. Immediately the cotton absorbed the whole water in the glass. The cotton symbolizes some of our relation ships. They do not contribute anything to us but they absorb everything that we have. They make us helpless.
In the third one he added a drop of ink, and it changed the colour of the water. When we come into contact with some people they change us. Likewise some of our relationships destroy our character. It destroys our innocence and individuality.
In the fourth he added a tea spoon of sugar. The sugar loses itself into the water. It does not take anything from the water instead it makes the water sweet. Our relationships should be like this. Jesus was born into this world to transform it. He came down to give his peace. He came down to teach us the lessons of forgiveness. He came down to raise us to a sublime position.
William Lynn Weaver shared an amazing story from his childhood in which his father treated a young stranger with remarkable kindness. After finding one of the family's bikes stolen, the pair tracked down the culprit, only to find the ten-year-old boy tearfully hiding behind his grandfather explaining that he "just wanted something for Christmas."
Returning home with the bike, William's father began gathering coal and asked if the family had an extra set of wheels. Without a word, he returned to the thief's house, bike and coal in hand, and handed them over to the child—along with an extra $20. "Merry Christmas," was all he said.
The message of Christmas for us is the same. Transform the world around us with your little acts of kindness.