Midnight Christmas (Year C)

Is 9:1-6; Ti 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14

In his Parable of the Birds, Louis Cassels tells of a man who refuses to go with his family to the Midnight Mass because he cannot understand the incarnation. Left alone at home, he finds a flock of birds in his backyard. Caught in the storm, the little creatures are desperate for shelter. He tries to usher the birds into the barn by sprinkling breadcrumbs along the way. When this fails, he tries to show them in by walking around them, waving his arms I the air. But the birds still do not understand. Finally, he realizes the problem: the birds find him a strange and terrifying creature. They do not trust him. He murmurs, “If only I could be a bird for a moment, perhaps I could save them. “At that moment, he hears the church bells ring the good news of Christmas. He sinks to his knees, saying: “Now I see why God has to become one of us.”

You know my dear friends I really like Christmas, because it is the time of the year where we are forced to think of others. Let us face it, most of the times we think of ourselves. We are preoccupied with ourselves 24 hours a day so that “once a year” reminder is always in good time. Just like in our story, God the Son became man in order that he can understand us – our feelings and grievances, our ambitions and vision in life and be always with us 24 hours a day. He did not mind if the people He is going to save is a good and forgiving people or not, but as long as He can show to them His love, that’s a big opportunity for each one of us. He did not force His love to us, he waits us to accept it and relish it to the fullest.

According to Zeneida Amador, a columnist of Manila Bulletin newspaper (dated Dec. 24, 1994), she said: “Christmas really is a time for giving more of ourselves to others. And come to think of it, it is also a time for forgiving – forgiving ourselves to others. It has often been said that to start the year off well, one has to have as clean a slate as possible. One cannot tackle another of work and challenge and relationships with others burdened with guilt. And so we are told first to forgive ourselves and then to forgive others and pray that others forgive us. So it’s not just forgiving others, it is forgiving ourselves and asking for forgiveness as well.” So, Jesus Christ becoming man is not only a great proof of God’s love to us, but this love is first and foremost, a forgiving type of love, a love that knows no bounds where everybody is welcome and is accepted.

I read a letter, written by a certain Kitch Ortigo, published in Manila Bulletin newspaper, dated Dec. 24, 1994. This letter was directed to the Highest Authority, God Himself, and the Omnipotent.

Your Omnipotence:

Christmas down here will celebrate tomorrow (Dec. 25) the birth

Anniversary of Jesus of Nazareth who is believed to be Your only

Begotten Son and redeemer of sinful mankind. They call the occasion

Christmas day, which caps the season that starts, in our country

as early as October, ends on New Year’s Day and blends into Valentine’s

Day. We have the longest Christmas season in the world, but

people’s piety doesn’t seem to be that long.

…Highest One, your Son would be pleased to hear the Christmas

music in the air. At night groups sing carols outside other people’s

homes, often joined by the resident dogs, and then wait for

Compensation. One wonders, Your Omnipotence, how your Son

feels about this.

…apart From this, Your Omnipotence, the state of peace and

order in our country is horrifying. There are killings, kidnappings, rapes,

robberies and hold-ups. There is greed, dishonesty and ill will. Your

Ten commandments, Your Omnipotence, are violated everyday. Speaking of

your commandments, Highest One, what do you mean by “neighbor?”

…Your Omnipotence, help us too with the GATT (ratified last Dec. 12,

1994). Make our industries learn competitiveness in the world and local

markets by producing products of worldwide class quality such as zippers

that do not self-engaged and shame one’s manhood.

Help us also, Highest One, with the expanded VAT. Rather, help us

against the VAT.

Thank you, Highest One, for your kind attention and please convey to your

Great Son my very best wishes for him on His birth anniversary.

At the end, let us reflect on these words of Henry van Dyke:

“There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, that is keeping Christmas. Are you willing to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness? Are you willing to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

“Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always?”

See Today’s Readings: Cycle C

OPTION  01,   02,   03,   04,

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