I am convinced that most of you here, beginning to celebrate Christmas 2015 didn’t wait until this very day doing nothing and thinking: “Christmas’ festivities will work out somehow. I will be spontaneous this year with Christmas dinner and presents.” On the contrary I am convinced that what is happening in this church and what will continue in your homes has been a long, probably tiring, process of planning and preparing. You went through this process of planning and preparing because you care about your family and you want them to have a good Christmas, because you respect your victors and you want them to have a good Christmas, because you are responsible for what can do so that you contribute your best to the others having a good Christmas.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers gathered on this sacred day of Our Blessed Lord’s Nativity. In the history of the humankind there have been people who claimed being someone special, like Muhammad, Buddha, and Confucius, just to mention a few. However what stands Jesus Christ out from those people is that Jesus claimed to be God, not just a messenger of God. One could say: “It is not very humble of Jesus.” I would say to such a person: Investigate the circumstances of his birth: born in a place for animals, placed in the box from which the animals fed, ignored by the majority of the then social establishment. Do you still need more evidence to acknowledge that Jesus was humble? He didn’t need a spectacular entry to show his divine because he came into our midst not to prove his divinity but to save us through his divinity incarnated.
In 1814 when a brother of Louis XVI, the French King who was executed by the revolutionaries, returned to France people said to him: “Sir you are king now.” In return Louis asked them: “Have I been someone else before?”
Today as we turn our minds and hearts to this babe in the manger, which can confuse our imagination regarding the grandeur of Divine, we hear the angel evangelising us: “Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born; he is Christ the Lord.” Christmas is not the beginning of Jesus as God because his divinity doesn’t have a beginning. He exists always in the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity. Christmas doesn’t even begin Jesus’ story as a human person because his human story began nine month earlier when he was conceived upon Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary that she would be the Mother of God’s only begotten Son. So what is happening today? Today the Son of God is revealed to those we have been searching for God. He is revealed by heaven and earth so that those who have been searching for him could find him.
I have already mentioned that what stands Jesus out from the crowd of some special people is that he claims to be God. However there is something else what stands Jesus out. No one expected Muhammad to be born, no one expected Buddha to be born, and no one expected Confucius to be born. Jesus’ case is different. For millennia he was longed for. For millennia his coming for awaited. Although Christmas these days is full of surprises, particularly when it comes to gifts, the coming of Christ was not a surprise at all. Some Scripture scholars have counted that at the time of Jesus’ birth there were 456 prophesies regarding the coming of the Messiah, prophesies like the place of his birth, his mother, his tribe, his forerunner. Now let give a voice to mathematicians: If one of those prophesies were to be fulfilled by accident the chance was one in a hundred. If two prophesies were to be fulfilled the chance was one in a thousand. If three, one in ten thousand. If four, one in a hundred thousand. If five, one in a million. So now, what was a chance for all those 456 prophesies to be fulfilled in Christ? When you go home you can do this exercise at the end of your Christmas lunch: take a piece of paper and write 1/84 and then write 126 zeros. This is the chance of all the prophecies of Christ being fulfilled. It runs into millions and millions, trillions and trillions. However we are not talking maths today but we are talking our Salvation which was well prepared by the Blessed Trinity. The first Christmas wasn’t an extraordinary chance or a spontaneous event because God loves us, cares about us and respects us too much to leave our Salvation to spontaneity. Jesus Christ’s coming in flesh was well prepared, our Salvation was well prepare, and over centuries some hints, those messianic prophesies were gradually being revealed. When Christ appeared he didn’t say: “Surprise I am here!” instead he said: “As the prophets foretold. As you read in the Scriptures.”
God bless you this Christmas day and always.