The Nativity of the Lord – Christmas
December 25, 2018 – Year C
Readings: Is 9:1-6 / Lk 2:11, Ps 96 / Ti 2:11-14 / Lk 2:1-14
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
On December 6, a young mother from Orlando was taking her eleven-month old daughter to one of the children’s hospitals in Philadelphia. As was standard practice, the airlines allow families with babies to board first, that is unless you are in first class. First class always boards before business or economy class.
The mother was at the back of the plane trying to arrange her carry-on bags, along with the oxygen her daughter had to have at all times. She wasn’t even finished arranging her things, when the stewardess told her that there was a man in first class who wanted to give her his seat. He would then take her seat. The stewardess told her that there was more room for her things in first class. The mother was more than happy; she was in tears.
As she moved to first class, the man passed her on his way back to her seat and she was able to say “Thank you,” to which he replied “You’re welcome.” She could hardly wait to get to Philadelphia so that she could thank the man more personally. Unfortunately, the man disappeared, and she never saw him and was unable to thank him in person.
As a result, she did what most members of the digital age do: She posted something on Facebook and told her Facebook friends to share the story, hoping that the man would learn of her desire to show how grateful she was to him for his sacrifice, even though he didn’t know her but saw her predicament and acted.
Within twenty-four hours her posting went viral. The airlines noticed the story and took initiative to find the passenger. When they found him, they asked if he would be willing to talk with the mother – at least on the phone. He agreed, and she was able to speak with him. She learned that he had done this before. He also commented that during the Christmas season he hoped people would be kind to each other and would notice what other people need.
This season – the birth of our Lord – is a pretty big deal. The Church actually celebrates Christmas as an octave, eight days. The celebration of the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus is just too big for one day.
This is the good news we receive today: God loved the world so much that He gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will have life eternal. God noticed our need. God remained faithful, even though we have not. Human as we are, we are weak, we make mistakes and we sin. God is merciful, He will always give us another chance. God wants all of us to share this good news, to be His hands and feet, to be part of His mercy, to love and to make others feel that this is still a good and beautiful world, to care.
After this Mass, I will be going to visit with my family. It will be a large gathering (seventy to a hundred), and this year our hosts are introverts. They are overwhelmed by large groups and will not be able to participate with everyone at once. It is an opportunity for us to be understanding that they cannot be with the whole group; it is too overwhelming.
This is what God calls us to do; to understand that everyone is different and to accept these differences. The gifts of the Holy Spirit can help us. Of course, we are still weak and we will continue to make mistakes, to be frail. We must continue to try to rely on the power of God, because we are temples of the Holy Spirit. Even though we may head in the wrong direction at times, we know where we need to go and how to get there.
A story is told of a single mother who had a fifteen-year-old daughter. The daughter was going through a difficult period. The mother tried everything, consulting books and specialists; nothing worked. The daughter would leave the house and not tell her mother where she was going or when she would be back. It got to the point that the daughter would no longer speak to her mother. Christmas Day arrived and the daughter’s friends were not available so she had to be home. Early in the morning, she woke up and noticed a small box with her name on it under the tree. She opened the box and found a beautiful rock with a note from her mom. The note said, “My dear, this rock is more than one billion years old. It will take that long before I will give up on you.”
Brothers and sisters, one of the important messages of Christmas is that God will never give up on us.