My Dear Sisters and Brothers, are you here because you have got lost? If not, why are you here? Do you believe that, here and now, among your fellow believers you will find Jesus Christ who was once born in Bethlehem? I do. I do believe that this celebration is not like watching a movie we have already seen ten, twenty or fifty times. I do believe that on this sacred day of the Lord’s Nativity we are sacramentally drawn into this mystery of Christmas, that we are immersed in it. I believe that because the One whose birth has brought us here is God himself.
In many Nativity Sets found in our churches, homes, shopping centres etc. we find the Baby Jesus who is little but with his outstretched arms he looks like someone who wants to embrace the world rather than a baby wanting to be picked up. This unusual presentation of a baby is an artisan expression of our Christian faith that this Baby is the Redeeming God, our Saviour, entering as a human our little world. That’s why we, his followers, are people of hope rather than optimists. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks , who for some years served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, said: ‘Optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better. Hope is the belief that together we can make the world better.’ Today we profess that it does make sense because God in Jesus Christ is part of that ‘together’.
These unusual presentations of the Baby Jesus are in fact deep expressions of faith in him, our God and Saviour. They are for us who at times may struggle to hold fast to this belief that God has entered our world and our history, that his is Emmanuel, God-is-with-us.
My Dear Fellow Christians! We are here not because we have got lost. We are here because from Jesus Christ we can draw our sustenance. Which image of the Baby Jesus speaks to you today? Take this image with you home. Treasure it because it resonates with something you are dealing with right now. The answer to that can be found in the image of Christ you are attracted to right now.
I have spoken about God’s good sense of humour. In this turbulent world of ours the last laugh belongs to God like the first word belonged to him too. It puts a smile on our face. It is a smile of joy because the Lord has come.