After Christmas when I had some peace and quiet I did some thinking. I was reflecting on the gifts and presents I’ve been given in my life. However, no matter how impressive and thoughtful they were, they can’t be compared to the gift of the people themselves. I believe that each of us here present can agree that in the end of the day another human being is the top present to us. One of the things I have learned is to focus on the person giving the gift rather then paying my full attention to the things being given to me.
My Dear Sisters and brothers!
This Sunday as we conclude Christmastide let’s think about our understanding of this season. What does it mean to me? How would I explain a reason to have this season of Christmas?
As we saw the last Sunday when we had the Epiphany Christmas is not just about the little Jesus. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and his miracle in Cana in Galilee where he turned water into wine belong to Christmas as much as the Nativity of the Lord on 25th of December does, though Jesus isn’t a baby any more when he is baptized and when he attends the wedding in Cana. So what do we celebrate during Christmas time? We celebrate Jesus’ first coming to us and our respond to that is: “We believe that Jesus is the Son of God” as St John says in the second reading today. Christmas isn’t just a birthday celebration but it is our acknowledgment and adoration of God appearing among us in a human body like ours, we celebrate God’s unique entry into the human history. When we think about Jesus descending into the waters of the Jordan today we see in this scene Jesus descending into our human world. We can also ask what he is bringing us, what is his Christmas present for you an me.
I hope each of us can think about some gifts we have received from God and I suspect we have lots of things to ask him for. However on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord I’d like you to pay very special attention to the words coming from heaven: “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.” Did Jesus need these words? He didn’t. They were spoken out for our sake. However these words are more than introducing Jesus to us. They are the summit of our Christmas celebrations. In these words we see God the Father giving us his beloved son.
Another thing which I’ve discovered in my life, and I am not the first person who has done this, is that Jesus Christ is the best gift we can be given. Now I am sorry for the period of time in my life when I ignored this gift and demanded other things from God, even if they were good things.
Like I said before; all the presents we are given are nothing comparing to the people who love us. All the things we can ask God for, even the best things are nothing comparing to having God who loves us so much that he gave us his beloved Son to save us.
Even if I am sorry for that period of time in my past when I didn’t comprehend how great is to have Jesus in my life, I am grateful that God shook me at some stage and I’m not longer like a person sitting under a Christmas tree, unwrapping presents and forgetting the people around him. I’m grateful that I don’t treat God like that. It would be terrible to spend the rest of my life in this way. “Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near” says Isaiah in the first reading. If we can find God it is because he wants to be found, because he became a human being in the womb of the Virgin.
Let me finish with a Christmas wish, a great one, which is said a few times during Mass.
“The Lord be with you.”