Merry Christmas, my brothers and sisters! ¡Feliz Navidad, mis hermanos y hermanas!1
What a beautiful, sacred night this is!
In our Advent journey we have been accompanying the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph as they make their pilgrim way to Bethlehem.
So tonight we have reached our destination. It is Christmas night!
Tonight, we rejoice with the Virgin Mary as she gives birth to her firstborn Son. We rejoice with St. Joseph as we watch Mary wrap the precious Child in swaddling clothes and lay him in the manger with tender love and affection.
In the Gospel we have just heard, we are right there with Mary and Joseph on that first Christmas night! We are there, looking down into the manger, adoring this beautiful Child who is sleeping.
And when look into his face — when we look into the eyes of the Baby Jesus — we see the whole meaning of our lives. We see how much God loves us! We see the blessed hope we have for a new beginning in our lives!
St. Paul says in tonight’s second reading: The grace of God has appeared, saving all!
Our God comes to us with his saving grace — to show us that his love is always faithful and always true!
My brothers and sisters, every Christmas is special. This one is even more special. Because this is Christmas in the Year of Faith.
As we know, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has declared this to be a year for renewing our faith.
So in this Christmas in the Year of Faith, each of us must reflect, in a deeply personal way, on Jesus Christ. Because our faith is a faith in him. It is a faith in this Child who comes to us at Christmas.
So we have to ask ourselves: What Child is this? Who is he? What does his presence mean for my life?
The words that we heard the prophet speak in our first reading are intended for us. The prophet said: For us, a Child is born and a Son is given!
My brothers and sisters, God comes to us as a Son and a little Child — to make it easy for us to love him.
And when we look at the Baby Jesus lying in the manger, we can see what God sees when he looks at each one of us.
This is the amazing truth about Christmas! In this Child lying in the manger, we see ourselves. We discover that we are children of God! We realize that God is our Father!
This is so amazing, it’s so hard to believe. But it’s true! The Creator of the universe — the God who made heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible — he is our Father. He is your Father and he is my Father.
This is the mystery of divine love that we receive on Christmas! And this is the reality of our lives.
Jesus comes to us tonight as God’s firstborn Son so that he can make us sons and daughters of God.
He enters our world, just as each one of us did. Through a mother’s womb. Jesus knows what it’s like to grow up in a family and to be loved by a mother and a father.
He knows what it’s like to have friends and to work hard at a job. He knows our happiness and our sorrows and frustrations. He knows how it feels to cry when a loved one dies. And he knows what temptation is. And what it means to suffer and die.
My brothers and sisters, we need to really start relating to Jesus as our brother. He is like us in all things but sin!
We need to learn from his words and his example. Because he came to show us a new path for our life. The path of faith. The path we can walk as sons and daughters of God, led by the hand of our Father.
So, my brothers and sisters, the meaning of our lives begins in this manger. Everything begins with this Child.
Jesus comes on this holy night to be born again in every human heart. He comes to be born in your heart and in mine!
So we have to have faith in him! We have to believe in who Jesus is! The Son of God! We have to really believe in his Gospel. We have to believe good news that he tells us — that we are children of God, sons and daughters of a Father who loves us.
So let us make that our prayer for this Christmas in the Year of Faith.
Let us entrust our lives to the loving intercession of Mary, our Blessed Mother. May she help us to welcome the Child who comes to make us children of God. May she help us to really believe in the meaning of Christmas — and help us to live Christmas every day!
1. Readings (Mass During the Night, Year C): Isa. 9:1-6; Ps. 96:1-3, 11-13; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14.